Tag Archives: Ebola

Lufthansa hands over an Airbus A340-300 for the transport of Ebola patients

 

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Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has turned over an Airbus A340-300 for Ebola patient humanitarian evacuation flights by the German government. Airbus A340-313 D-AIGZ (msn 347) has been converted from a passenger aircraft to this special transport aircraft. The airline issued this statement:

Federal Foreign Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe accepted receipt of the world’s first evacuation aircraft for transporting and treating Ebola patients on behalf of the German government.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr handed over an Airbus A340-300 for its new role in Berlin on Thursday (November 27). At the request of the Federal Foreign Office, Lufthansa Technik spent the last few weeks converting what was previously a passenger aircraft called the “Villingen-Schwennigen” so that it could be used for this special humanitarian mission. Under its new name, the “Robert Koch”, it now serves as the world’s only evacuation facility for highly contagious patients. Unlike the smaller aircraft that have been sporadically available to date, the facility can provide comprehensive intensive care on board. The Lufthansa Group was able to complete such a complex and technically demanding undertaking so quickly because the airline was in a position to provide a long-haul aircraft at short notice that was suitable for the specific requirements of the project. As a global leader in aviation technology, Lufthansa Technik also has a wealth of experience in installing a diverse range of non-standard cabin interiors on aircraft for governments, VIPs and the business travel sector. It was able to draw on this expertise for the construction and installation of the special isolation unit in the aircraft cabin. The aircraft conversion, which started on November 17 in Hamburg, was carried out in partnership with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

In the middle and rear of the long-haul aircraft, passenger seats, kitchen and washing areas, and baggage lockers were removed to make way for a patient transport isolation unit surrounded by an airtight tent with negative pressure. Inside, medics can provide patients with intensive care and treatment during the flight while remaining fully protected. Two exterior tents, which are also airtight, serve as buffers so that the treatment tent can be entered and exited safely. At the front of the cabin, there are still seats for up to 19 passengers such as doctors, attendants from the RKI, isolation tent technicians and a Lufthansa engineer. Within a short space of time, a total of more than 700 pilots and flight attendants volunteered as cockpit and cabin crew for the “Robert Koch” humanitarian project, which will initially run for six months.

Lufthansa aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

AFA issues a demand for an Ebola protection “checklist” for flight attendants

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The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), the world’s largest Flight Attendant union representing nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 19 carriers, has notified Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain and key federal agencies overseeing aviation safety and health of protective and response measures needed to support aviation’s first responders and safe air travel.

AFA’s checklist includes responsible actions for managing and containing communicable diseases. By focusing efforts on prevention for all crewmembers, aircraft cleaning, and a collaborative response plan with airline management in the event of an Ebola exposure in-flight, AFA is leading efforts to minimize, contain, and eradicate the risk of Ebola from being further spread through civil aviation.

Here is the checklist demands:

Ebola and Other Communicable Disease Incident Response Checklists

AFA calls for the federal agencies overseeing aviation safety and health to require that all airlines comply with the following measures.

Prevention for All Crew Members

  •  Provide an adequate supply for every Flight Attendant on all flights of non- allergenic gloves and masks that are determined appropriate protection by the CDC and/or WHO.
  •  Provide an adequate supply of medical gloves and masks that are determined appropriate protection by the CDC and/or WHO for any volunteer medical personnel assisting with medical situations.
  •  Ensure each flight has one universal precaution kit for every Flight Attendant on duty plus two additional kits for intervening healthcare personnel. Universal precaution kits should include all items specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as follows:

    Universal precaution kit:
    — Dry powder that can convert small liquid spills into a sterile granulated gel — Germicidal disinfectant for surface cleaning
    — Skin wipes
    — Face/eye mask (separate or combined)
    — Gloves (disposable)
    — Protective apron

  •  Permit Flight Attendants working on flights to wear gloves anytime during the flight without any discriminatory or disciplinary actions being taken against them.
  •  Issue guidance to all crew in the event that a passenger exhibits signs or symptoms of infectious disease during a flight.
  •  Require pre-flight briefings to communicate the use of universal precaution procedures and equipment to prevent exposure on a flight and to review guidance in the event that a passenger exhibits signs or symptoms of infectious disease during a flight.
  •  Provide an adequate supply of masks and sick bags for any passengers who exhibit symptoms on a flight.
  •  Provide an airsick bag that is immediately available for each passenger.
  •  Ensure all aircraft meet the federal requirements for access to soap and running

    water.

  •  Provide on all flights equipment necessary to take temperatures of potentially

    infected persons without requiring physical contact with those individuals.

  •  It is a federal requirement to have running water, soap and clean towels on every

    flight – but if a flight is scheduled to leave in violation of this regulation then the airline should ensure Flight Attendant(s) has the ability to wash hands with running water and soap prior to departure of every flight and provision a sufficient quantity of sanitary alcohol-based wipes.

  •  Make all of the above stated supplies a no-go item (required for aircraft dispatch).

Aircraft Cleaning

Require airlines to follow CDC recommended guidelines for cleaning aircraft and any contaminated areas after a flight with a sick traveler who may have Ebola or other communicable diseases, including protection and training for the aircraft cleaners.

Crew Members on a Flight with Infected Passenger

  •  Immediately lock-down crew names, similar to an airline incident/accident.
  •  Immediately contact the union leadership with the names, cell phone numbers,

    current locations, and in-sheltering locations of impacted crewmembers.

  •  Coordinate with the crewmembers union leadership around any issues related to

    care and protection of the crew.

  •  Immediately remove crew with pay and benefits for the entire disease incubation

    period.

  •  Provide all resources necessary to safely in-shelter the crewmembers during the

    incubation period; for example, safe and secure location with meals and medical supplies provided, including, but not limited to, thermometers for self-monitoring and protective masks.

  •  Cover all medical costs related to potential exposure, including, but not limited to, tests, doctor visits, and medications.
  •  Once the in-sheltering period is over, provide transportation to the crewmember’s choice of base or home.
  •  Provide an external (non-airline employee) mental health professional who can make daily confidential telephonic wellness calls to the in-sheltering crewmember. Crewmembers may accept or decline calls at their own discretion.
  •  Within 8 hours of knowledge of the incident, the company and union will implement the communications plan.

    Management Plan Checklist

  •  Establish an unrestricted, transparent, and confidential on-going communication flow plan between the company, union(s), and managing public health authorities.
  •  The company and the union(s) will develop a joint communications plan, including message templates, to be used in the event of a communicable disease related incident aboard an aircraft.
  •  Establish a plan for in-sheltering of crewmembers following a communicable disease related incident aboard an aircraft.

Frontier Airlines places six crew members on paid 21-day leave after flying a nurse who later tested positive with Ebola

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has placed six crew members on a paid 21-day leave after a second Dallas nurse was diagnosed with Ebola the following day. The crew operated flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on October 13 carrying nurse Amber Vinson, 29, the second Texas nurse to test positive for the Ebola virus. Nurse Vinson was put into isolation the following day when she tested positive. Vinson had been caring for Thomas Duncan who arrived from West Africa with the deadly virus.

The pictured Airbus A320-214 N220FR (msn 5661) was cleaned and returned to service the next day according to Frontier Airlines and this report by ABC News.

Meanwhile the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reaching out to the 132 passengers who were on the same flight.

Read the full story from ABC: CLICK HERE

CDC logo

The CDC issued this statement in cooperation with Frontier Airlines:

CDC and Frontier Airlines Announce Passenger Notification Underway

On the morning of October 14, the second healthcare worker reported to the hospital with a low-grade fever and was isolated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that the second healthcare worker who tested positive last night for Ebola traveled by air October 13, the day before she reported symptoms.

Because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning, CDC is reaching out to passengers who flew on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth October 13.

CDC is asking all 132 passengers on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on October 13 (the flight route was Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth and landed at 8:16 p.m. CT) to call 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636). After 1 p.m. ET, public health professionals will begin interviewing passengers about the flight, answering their questions, and arranging follow up. Individuals who are determined to be at any potential risk will be actively monitored.

The healthcare worker exhibited no signs or symptoms of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew. Frontier is working closely with CDC to identify and notify passengers who may have traveled on flight 1143 on October 13. Passengers who may have traveled on flight 1143 should contact CDC at 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636).

Frontier 2014 logo (large)

Frontier Airlines Statement

“At approximately 1:00 a.m. MT on October 15, Frontier was notified by the CDC that a customer traveling on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on October 13 has since tested positive for the Ebola virus. The flight landed in Dallas/Fort Worth at 8:16 p.m. local and remained overnight at the airport having completed its flying for the day at which point the aircraft received a thorough cleaning per our normal procedures which is consistent with CDC guidelines prior to returning to service the next day. It was also cleaned again in Cleveland last night. Previously the customer had traveled from Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142 on October 10.

Customer exhibited no symptoms or sign of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew. Frontier responded immediately upon notification from the CDC by removing the aircraft from service and is working closely with CDC to identify and contact customers who may traveled on flight 1143.

Customers who may have traveled on either flight should contact CDC at 1 800 CDC-INFO.

The safety and security of our customers and employees is our primary concern. Frontier will continue to work closely with CDC and other governmental agencies to ensure proper protocols and procedures are being followed.”

Meanwhile the Association of Flight Attendants applauded the swift actions of Frontier Airlines and issued this statement:

AFA Logo

 

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), representing Frontier Airlines Flight Attendants, applauds Frontier Airlines management for responding immediately to the concerns of frontline workers and taking decisive action to safeguard the health and safety of Flight Attendants affected by transport of the confirmed Ebola patient.

“We applaud Frontier Airlines management for working with AFA and not only following CDC guidance, but exceeding recommendations in an abundance of caution,” stated Sara Nelson, AFA International President. “Management quickly and affirmatively responded to advocacy to remove directly affected crew from schedule and pay protect them for 21 days. We continue to work with management to provide necessary support for these crewmembers.”

“Frontier management’s actions should serve as a good template for the industry should other airlines encounter a similar incident. Their actions to communicate fully with Flight Attendants all of the actions taken to address cleaning of the aircraft and addressing other concerns. We will continue to work with Frontier management on communicating procedures for Flight Attendants and providing tools to manage any potential future incident,” added Nelson.

AFA is adamant that all airlines need to provide specific briefings for crews on what the procedures are to contain any blood borne pathogens, report and manage a potential onboard detection of Ebola, and provide universal precaution kits and other resources for all crew and potential healthcare responders on each flight.

The CDC issued this overview of the Ebola cases in the United States:

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CDC confirmed on September 30, 2014, the first laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from West Africa. The patient did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately four days after arriving in the United States.

The person sought medical care at Texas Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas after developing symptoms consistent with Ebola. Based on the person’s travel history and symptoms, CDC recommended testing for Ebola. The medical facility isolated the patient and sent specimens for testing at CDC and at a Texas laboratory. Local public health officials have identified all close contacts of the person for further daily monitoring for 21 days after exposure. He died of Ebola on October 8 and was cremated.

On October 10, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient reported a low-grade fever and was referred for testing. The healthcare worker has tested positive for Ebola according to preliminary tests by the Texas Department of State Health Services’ laboratory. The healthcare worker was isolated after the initial report of a fever. CDC confirms that the healthcare worker is positive for Ebola.

CDC recognizes that any case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States raises concerns, and any death is too many. Medical and public health professionals across the country have been preparing to respond. CDC and public health officials in Texas are taking precautions to identify people who had close personal contact with the patient and health care professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control at all times.

October 12, 2014 Update

CDC did not recommend that people on the same flights as the index patient undergo monitoring because the index patient did not exhibit symptoms of Ebola during the flights from West Africa. Ebola is only contagious if the person is experiencing active symptoms.

A healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient has tested positive for Ebola according to preliminary tests by the Texas Department of State Health Services’ laboratory. The healthcare worker was isolated after the initial report of a fever and remains so now.

The hospital and healthcare worker were notified of the preliminary positive result. In addition, CDC has interviewed the healthcare worker to identify any contacts or potential exposures in the community.

Meanwhile Airports Council International (ACI) issued this statement:

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The Airports Council International (ACI) World Governing Board met this past Sunday, 12 October in Durban during the 23rd Annual ACI Africa Assembly, Conference and Exhibition and discussed how best ACI can assist airports in their response to the Ebola outbreak.

The focus of international efforts remains on providing the medical response to contain and prevent the spread of the disease in affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) and on the exit screening controls in those countries. Although isolated cases have been reported in four other countries (Nigeria, Senegal, the US and Spain), transmission has been limited and prompt containment action has been taken.

The Board provided its full support to ACI’s ongoing collaborative efforts with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other stakeholders in the travel and transportation sectors.

Since the WHO declared the Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in August of this year, ICAO has convened a special Travel and Transportation Task Force comprising ICAO, the WHO and international organizations from the aviation, maritime and travel sectors. ACI represents the global airport community in this task force, which coordinates the dissemination of information and technical guidance to these sectors.

ACI is also a founding partner in the ICAO Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) programme, which brings together countries and industry stakeholders under a collaborative framework to build the capacity of public health agencies, airports and airlines to handle public health emergencies.

“The CAPSCA programme has been running for more than a decade, and there is a high degree of preparedness within the industry,” said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World. “Furthermore, the air transport industry has successfully responded to other Public Health Emergencies of International Concern in the past, including Swine Flu, Avian Influenza and SARS. As such, the industry has well established contingency plans developed with public health agencies and emergency services at international, national and local levels to respond to such events.”

The Board recognized that the current Ebola outbreak is having a very serious impact on the three affected countries and that it will take time for the international response to bring it under control. There is therefore a risk that some cases will emerge elsewhere. ACI stresses that these cases are isolated and appropriate and quick action has been taken to protect the public.

As recently communicated by ACI EUROPE, the WHO and the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) have expressed reservations about the effectiveness of temperature screening of passengers on arrival, implemented in some US and Canadian airports and currently being contemplated by some EU countries. Indeed, the WHO does not currently recommend screening passengers at entry points. Conversely, the WHO and ECDC support exit screening of departing passengers, which has been implemented at airports in the three main affected African countries over the last two months.

“The fear of contracting Ebola greatly exceeds the actual risk, and providing factual and scientific information to the travelling public and employees in the aviation sector is vitally important,” Gittens added. “The scientific fact is that to contract Ebola one has to have direct contact with the body fluids, blood, secretions or articles contaminated with these fluids from an infected person. As a result, unless an individual has been to one of the three affected countries in West Africa and/or has been in contact with persons infected with Ebola, the risk of contracting the disease is very, very small.”

To this end, ACI has committed to providing guidance to its members on how to proactively communicate factual information on Ebola to airport workers and to suggest ways to lessen the anxiety they may have in carrying out their duties. ACI will also continue to share guidance on the contingency procedures for responding to events of this nature so that staff can gain confidence in their ability to respond properly.

Planefinder Ebola Plane Tracker

Related to this event, Planefinder.net (above) has come up with a new topical feature that allows you track airliners that have visited an Ebola affected area in west Africa. Enter the aircraft registration to find out if the aircraft has recently visited one of these affected areas. The website uses Google Maps as its platform.

The website explains how it all works:

1) Plane positional data is broadcast by aircraft and received by our massive network of land based receivers around the world.
2) We match this to tons of other data like aircraft details and photographs, arrivals and departures information to bring everything to your fingertips.

Planefinder.net also allows you to track any flight outside of this affected area.

Top Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N220FR (msn 5661) with Sharklets at Washington (Reagan National) prior to the incident.

Frontier Airlines (2nd): AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines (2nd) Aircraft Slide Show:

National Airlines helps to bring medical and relief supplies to Monrovia, Liberia

National Airlines (5th) (formerly Murray Air) (Orlando) is helping in the Ebola relief efforts in Liberia. In cooperation with the United States Government, National Airlines, using one of its Boeing 747-400 Freighters, carried a planeload of medical and other relief supplies from New York to the Monrovia Airport.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Formerly operated by Air France, Boeing 747-428 (F) N952CA (msn 25238) arrives at Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).

NATIONAL AIRLINES LOGO

National Airlines (5th): AG Slide Show

CDC Map of affected Ebola areas in West Africa:

CDC Map - Ebola Affected Areas in West Africa

Emirates suspends flights to Conakry, Guinea on Ebola virus concerns

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Emirates (Dubai) suspended flights on Saturday (August 2) between Dubai and Conakry, Guinea in west Africa on concerns of the Ebola virus.

Read the full report from USA Today: CLICK HERE

There is an outbreak of the Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone: Read the full report from the CDC: CLICK HERE

CDC: This graphic below shows the life cycle of the ebola virus. According to the CDC, bats are strongly implicated as both reservoirs and hosts for the ebola virus. Of the five identified ebola virus subtypes, four are capable of human-to-human transmission. Initial infections in humans result from contact with an infected bat or other wild animal. Strict isolation of infected patients is essential to reduce onward ebola virus transmission.

Ebola life cycle (CDC)(LR)

CDC map of affected areas in west Africa, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia:

Ebola Guinea and Liberia map (CDC)(HR)