Amid ongoing Ebola worries, a US Airways flight from Charlotte to Tampa, Fla., was delayed for about three hours Friday night after a passenger began throwing up in the lavatory during boarding and the plane’s captain called for paramedics, an airline spokesman said.
The passenger had a fever of about 100 degrees and complained of nausea and chills, but the State Health Department determined she doesn’t have the deadly disease afflicting several West African countries, Mecklenburg County said in a news release.
“The passenger with symptoms does not meet the case definition of Ebola, but in an abundance of caution was transported to Carolinas Medical Center for evaluation,” the county’s statement said.
“Since the passenger did not meet the case definition, and no travel from West Africa was involved, the North Carolina State Health Department confirms that this was not Ebola,” the statement said.
Flight 1829 had 187 passengers and a crew of five, US Airways spokesman Kent Powell said.
“The captain called paramedics because she was quite ill,” Powell said of the passenger.
Passengers were ordered to remain aboard the airline, which Powell said was the decision of health officials, not the airline or airport. Passengers remained aboard for about two hours, he said.
“Out of an abundance of caution, paramedics didn’t want the passengers to deplane,” Powell said.
The airline provided a different plane and a new crew for the flight, which left Charlotte Douglas International Airport shortly after 9 p.m. The original flight had been scheduled to depart at 5:50 p.m.
Twitter lit up Friday night with fears the woman had Ebola – not the first false alarm in the U.S. this week.
American Airlines flight attendants have been accused of ordering a woman who became sick on a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Chicago Thursday night to stay in the plane’s bathroom over fears she had Ebola. The airline denied the assertions.
“There were no concerns related to Ebola,” an airline spokesperson told the Houston Chronicle. “Our crew saw a very sick woman that probably had food poisoning or something. She was so sick that she asked to remain in the lavatory for the duration of the flight.”
The virus has been largely limited to West Africa and is known to have infected only two people in the U.S. – nurses who treated the Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, who died earlier this month in Dallas after traveling to America with the virus.
Last week, an American Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Midland, Texas, after a passenger vomited on the plane. Although health officials quickly ruled out Ebola as the cause, paramedics arrived on the scene to discuss Ebola symptoms with the other passengers, according to the Washington Times.