Hitchhiking Microorganisms and Increased Air Travel leads to Very Bad Things

It’s a horrible feeling when doing something you love causes something bad to happen.

Although hardly news, researchers at Oxford University have just released a sobering report detailing how increased air travel leads to an increased spread of disease and an increased risk to biodiversity.

Air travel has risen 8% a year in the last three years, according to the report, and as a result, an alarming number of micro-organisms and insects are hitchhiking around the globe. This means that organisms from the other side of the world can suddenly sprout in a new environment where, unchecked by natural predators, they can spread disease or wipe out endemic species.

Oxford researchers pinpointed a number of international routes, various climactic conditions and certain times of the year that pose the greatest risk. Europe, for example, is most vulnerable in January from flights originating in China and Japan.

So be careful the next time you travel; that microorganism hitching a ride in your lower intestine may just bring about the next biblical plague or the downfall of western civilization.