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Ebola Virus Scare On United Airlines Flight 998

October 5, 2014 - On Saturday, a passenger onboard a United Airlines flight showed symptoms of having contacted Ebola after traveling in Liberia. The 35 year old man had been vomiting on the flight but did not display most of the other symptoms. Flight 998 had departed from Brussels for Newark with 255 passengers and a flight crew of 14. 

Upon arrival at Newark Liberty International Airport, medical personnel boarded the Boeing 777 to assist the passenger who was traveling with his daughter. They were both taken to University Hospital. The passengers were allowed to deplane the aircraft and taken to a secure area in the airport and medically screened. 

A number of passengers stated that when they were taken of the plane they were not told what the problem was other than that there was an medical emergency on the aircraft.

As they deplaned the aircraft they were mixed in with other passengers in the terminal. But health officials quickly isolated Flight 998 passengers. One passenger said it seemed like the heath officials did not have a handle on what to do.

University Hospital in coordination with federal, state and local public health officials, evaluated the two individuals. After an examination by physicians at University Hospital, the symptoms of one individual were found to be consistent with another, minor treatable condition unrelated to Ebola. The second individual, who was traveling with the patient, was asymptomatic. The father and daughter were released with self-monitoring. 

The CDC coordinated with federal, state, local, and hospital officials to ensure all precautionary protocols were followed. Similarly, out of an abundance of caution, CDC provided other passengers with information they would have needed to monitor their health, should it have been determined that the ill passenger's condition was contagious. Together with the airline and the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection, CDC also collected contact information and travel plans from the other passengers should they needed to re-contact them.


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