Airline and hospital officials said a Delta Air Lines plane was held
at McCarran International Airport, but it turned out to be a false
alarm and an all-clear was issued. A Delta spokesman said the
concerns arose after a passenger on the flight from New York's John
F. Kennedy International Airport reported feeling unwell.
It was the latest Ebola scare involving aircraft in the past week,
which have been reported by U.S. media. On Wednesday, a passenger on
board a U.S. Airways flight from Philadelphia said he had Ebola.
Officials in the Dominican Republic investigated and cleared the
aircraft, the airline said. Video from a passenger showed officials
in blue-colored protective suits boarding the plane after landing
and escorting a man off. The same day, an American Airlines plane
made an unscheduled landing in Midland, Texas, after a woman vomited
Health officials in protective clothing removed passengers from a
plane in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday over fears a Liberian man
and his daughter who were on board were showing symptoms.
These and a rash of incidents in countries from Macedonia to the
Czech Republic to Brazil worry doctors and emergency medical
professionals about available resources.
“If this really becomes a widespread Ebola panic, and EMS crews are
getting 50 Ebola false alarms a day, the system will become
seriously overextended, ” said Dr. Peter Taillac, professor of
emergency medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
“The response will be worse than the reality.”
Airline stocks fell after initial reports of the Las Vegas incident.
Delta Air Lines Inc was down 1.7 percent; Southwest Airlines fell
1.8 percent, and United Continental Holdings lost 2.5 percent. A
Thomson Reuters index of U.S. airline companies .TRXFLDUSPARLI fell
The death this week of the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the
United States and the hospitalization in Spain of a nurse who was
the first to contract the virus outside West Africa have changed the
perception of Ebola to a global threat from what had been seen as a
problem for poor West African countries.
A study last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) projected there could be as many as 1.4 million
cases of Ebola in West Africa by mid January.
Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who flew on commercial planes from his
home country to Dallas in late September, died of Ebola on Wednesday
morning. His body has been cremated, Texas health officials said on
Growing awareness of the disease and accompanying fears have led to
several people being tested as a precaution.
Doctors in Macedonia have "serious indications" that alcohol, not
Ebola, may have killed a British man visiting the Balkan country, a
senior health official said.
Brazil's health minister said doctors were testing a man who arrived
Sept. 19 from Guinea but he was "in good shape" and his slight fever
has subsided. Tests showed a hospitalized Czech man, who had
recently traveled to Liberia, does not have Ebola, officials said.
Seven more people in Spain were admitted to the hospital where the
nurse, Teresa Romero, lay seriously ill. Romero contracted the virus
from a priest who was repatriated from West Africa and died. A
hospital spokeswoman said 14 people were now under observation or
being treated, including Romero's husband.
U.S. BOOSTS FUND FOR WEST AFRICA
U.S. lawmakers have agreed to use $750 million in war funds to fight
Ebola in West Africa.
Even though the European Union and the United States said they were
focused on ramping up efforts to fight the disease at its source in
West Africa, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said
response to a $1 billion funding appeal had been slow. Eliasson said
many more trained healthcare personnel were needed to tackle the
crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which have been hardest
hit by the epidemic. Eliasson said the appeal has only been 25
[to top of second column]
"It is the most extraordinary challenge that the world could
possibly face," said Dr. David Nabarro, who is heading the U.N.
response to the Ebola epidemic. "You sometimes see films about this
sort of thing and you imagine how could such a thing happen. This is
more extreme than any film I have ever seen."
European Union health ministers called an extraordinary meeting for
Brussels on Oct. 16 and said they would discuss bolstering airport
procedures to better screen passengers arriving from countries
affected by the disease.
"The goal is to further increase the ability to respond to the
ongoing epidemic and further reduce the risk of contagion in
Europe," said a statement from Italy, which holds the rotating EU
The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever and is spread through
direct contact with body fluids from an infected person, who would
suffer severe bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.
In Washington, Republican U.S. Senator James Inhofe said he had
approved a shift of $750 million in Defense Department war funds to
fight Ebola in West Africa, lifting the final objections to that
amount in Congress.
Passenger screening and flight restrictions were discussed at a
congressional hearing on the response to Ebola, held near the main
international airport in Dallas.
Dr. Toby Merlin, a preparedness official at the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, said inhibiting flights would
prevent aid and medical care from reaching the worst hit countries.
"We need uninhibited travel," Merlin said. "If that doesn't happen,
there will be 400,000 to 1 million new cases" if Ebola is not
The World Health Organization on Friday updated its death toll for
the worst Ebola outbreak on record to 4,033 people out of 8,399
confirmed, probable, and suspected cases in seven countries by the
end of Oct. 8.
The death toll includes 2,316 in Liberia, 930 in Sierra Leone, 778
in Guinea, eight in Nigeria and 1 in the United States. An unrelated
Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo has killed 43
California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc is making progress in
efforts to boost production of the experimental Ebola treatment
ZMapp, the company said.
Cocoa futures on ICE rallied more than 3 percent on Friday as
worries intensified over the potential impact of Ebola on supplies
from West Africa.
(Reporting by Sonya Dowsett in Madrid, Michelle Nichols at the
United Nations, David lawder in Washington, Steve Scherer in Rome,
Tom Miles in Geneva and Sharon Begley in New York, Marice Richter in
Dallas; Writing by Grant McCool; Editing by Peter Henderson, Toni
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