Thursday, January 1, 2015

London officials contacting plane passengers following Ebola case

Public Health England (PHE) is undertaking contact tracing following the confirmed case of Ebola in a healthcare worker returning from Sierra Leone, and as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, has spoken to 85 passengers.

The person had left Sierra Leone on Sunday and had been a passenger on flight AT596 from Freetown to Casablanca, flight AT0800 from Casablanca to London, and transferred at Heathrow to flight BA1478 for onward travel to Glasgow.

“Although the risk of infection to other passengers on the flights is considered extremely low, PHE is contacting 100 passengers, and the crew on the flight from Casablanca to Heathrow,” PHE said in a press statement. An additional 32 international passengers are being contacted by international public health authorities. Health Protection Scotland is carrying out a similar exercise for the 71 passengers on the Heathrow to Glasgow flight, speaking with 56 to date.

People contacted by PHE will be made aware that a person on their flight was confirmed with Ebola after they returned to the U.K., although the person would have been in the very early stages of disease and extremely unlikely to be infectious.

As a precaution, PHE informs people sitting directly in the vicinity of the passenger (2 rows adjacent, ahead and behind, comprising 21 passengers) to take their temperature twice daily until the Jan. 18. Any illness that passengers might experience beyond that point would not be considered to be related.

Since October, PHE has screened over 1,700 people returning from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

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