International air travel restrictions may provide a small but important delay in the spread of a pandemic, especially if other disease control measures are implemented during the afforded time. However, if other measures are not instituted, delays may worsen regional epidemics by pushing the outbreak into high epidemic season. This important interaction between policy and seasonality is only evident with a global-scale model. Since the benefit of travel restrictions can be substantial while their costs are minimal, dismissal of travel restrictions as an aid in dealing with a global pandemic seems premature.
Controlling Pandemic Flu: The Value of International Air Travel Restrictions
Georgiy Bobashev, D. Michael Goedecke, Joshua M. Epstein, Robert J. Morris, Diane K. Wagener, and Feng Yu
May 15, 2007