Home Health News Two health scares at U.S. airports tied to Mecca pilgrims: U.S. officials

Two health scares at U.S. airports tied to Mecca pilgrims: U.S. officials

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – Two main health scares at U.S. airports involving inbound flights are associated to pilgrims getting back from the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to the holy metropolis of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which led to late August, U.S. health officials mentioned on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: The emergency providers are seen, after the passengers had been taken in poor health on a flight from New York to Dubai, on JFK Airport, New York, U.S., September 05, 2018 on this nonetheless picture obtained from social media. Larry Coben/by way of REUTERS

On Wednesday, U.S. health officials despatched an emergency response crew with cell diagnostic tools to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after they had been informed that greater than 100 passengers aboard an Emirates airways flight from Dubai had been experiencing flu-like signs.

Dr. Martin Cetron, director for the division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, informed Reuters in a phone interview that health officials evaluated practically 549 passengers at the airport, and despatched a complete of 11 individuals to an area hospital for extra testing.

Ten individuals had been examined for a battery of respiratory viruses and micro organism in hopes of ruling out critical pathogens that would present a public health risk.

Two of them examined constructive for an particularly virulent sort of influenza A virus, and one of many two, who was gravely in poor health with pneumonia, was co-infected with one other respiratory virus, Cetron mentioned. A 3rd person examined constructive for a chilly virus.

FILE PHOTO: Passengers depart the airplane being assisted by the air cabin crew and the emergency providers on a flight from New York to Dubai, on JFK Airport, New York, U.S., September 05, 2018 on this nonetheless picture obtained from social media. Larry Coben/by way of REUTERS

All three had taken half within the Hajj, which this 12 months drew some 2 million individuals to Mecca, Cetron mentioned.

Seven crew members, who boarded the flight in Dubai and weren’t at the pilgrimage, examined destructive for quite a lot of respiratory infections of public health concern, Cetron mentioned.

The subsequent day, two flights arriving in Philadelphia from Europe had been screened by medical groups after 12 passengers reported flu-like signs. One of them had visited Mecca for the Hajj.

Cetron mentioned health officials in New York had been ready to quarantine a big group of sick passengers in an space at the airport. From a complete of 11 passengers taken to hospital for analysis, 10 had been examined for respiratory signs; one confirmed indicators of food poisoning.

“It was a much smaller incident. That’s not uncommon,” Cetron mentioned. “Often the incoming information from multiple sources can be exaggerated beyond what we really find.”

All 10 sufferers with respiratory signs examined destructive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS, a extremely infectious and lethal respiratory an infection that was first recognized within the Middle East in 2012.

FILE PHOTO: A common view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

The CDC was not alerted upfront in regards to the two flights that landed in Philadelphia from Paris and Munich, however a number of vacationers had complained of sickness, triggering a “medical review” of 250 passengers from these flights, a spokesman mentioned.

Twelve passengers had been discovered to have sore throats and coughs, and one additionally examined constructive for the flu, a CDC spokesman confirmed.

The responses had been a part of a well-rehearsed community of public health officials skilled to establish and comprise pathogens as U.S. airports and ports of entry, Cetron mentioned.

“Our most critical issue was to rule several respiratory illnesses of urgent public health significance,” Cetron mentioned.

Cetron mentioned the CDC screens databases to monitor outbreaks of infectious illness that would publish a deal with within the United States. Although unlikely, MERS was undoubtedly a priority that the crew wanted to rule out, he mentioned.

“That was a low-probability, high consequence event that we wanted to rule out,” he mentioned.

The CDC mentioned in a press release that the circumstances had been a reminder that flu season is coming, and urged all U.S. residents six months or older to get a flu shot by the tip of October.

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York

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