What is Aircraft Disinsection?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines disinsection as:
“the procedure whereby health measures are taken to control or kill the insect vectors of human diseases present in baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods and postal parcels.”
All international aircraft arriving into Australia aredisinsected through aerosolised spraying or residual treatments in the passenger cabins and cargo holds using insecticides recommended by WHO. This may include crew members spraying aerosol cans in the cabin while travellers are on-board or treating the aircraft prior to travellers boarding the aircraft.
Why Disinsect Aircraft?
Australia is largely free of mosquito vectors that transmit serious diseases including dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika virus and yellow fever.
Disinsection helps to prevent these mosquito vectors arriving in Australia that may be carrying, or are capable of carrying, diseases of concern. Disinsection also helps to protect Australia from harmful agricultural pests.
Disinsection is a public health measure under the International Health Regulations (Annex 5) and recommended to minimise the global spread of mosquito borne diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and Zika virus.
As a signatory to the International Health Regulations, Australia has adopted the WHO recommendations regarding aircraft disinsection.
Aircraft Disinsection Requirements
Under Australian law, all international aircraft entering Australia are required to be disinsected. The Biosecurity (Human Health) Regulations 2016 requires the operator of an incoming aircraft to take measures to control or destroy insect vectors of human diseases in a manner and time as approved by the Director of Human Biosecurity.
The Australian approved disinsection methods used by airlines can be found in theSchedule of Aircraft Disinsection Procedures for Flights into Australia and New Zealand.
Human Health Impacts of Aircraft Disinsection
WHO has conducted rigorous evaluations and found no evidence that the approved insecticide sprays are harmful to human health when used as recommended.
More information on aircraft disinsection and Australia’s requirements can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.
Additional information from the WHO regarding aircraft disinsection and approved processes and chemicals can be found on the WHO website.