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
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 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:
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:
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:
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.
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) Aircraft Slide Show: