Sick Airline Passenger Flying From Sierra Leone Taken to Hospital | NBC New York

Deadly Virus' Arrival in U.S. Sparks Concerns

Sick Airline Passenger Flying From Sierra Leone Taken to Hospital

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    An airline passenger whose trip originated out of Sierra Leone and ended at Newark Airport has been transported to Hackensack University Medical Center after the passenger became ill and began vomiting. Brynn Gingras reports (Published Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015)

    An airline passenger traveling from Sierra Leone to Newark Airport was taken to the hospital after she began vomiting and exhibiting a fever, a source familiar with the response says. 

    The United Airlines passenger, who connected in Brussels before landing in New Jersey, was reported to have a fever and was vomiting, the source said. She was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, one of the state's three hospitals assigned to handle potential Ebola cases.

    Sierra Leone is among the West African countries ravaged by the Ebola virus. The Record newspaper reported the passenger was a health care practitioner who worked with Ebola patients there. 

    The entrance to the hospital's emergency room was blocked Monday evening, and patients were being directed to enter through the lobby. 

    The patient was kept overnight for further evaluation out of an abundance of caution, according to a statement from the hospital.

    "Please rest assured that our dedicated team of healthcare providers is taking every precaution in treating this patient and they are led by our Infection Control team, working in accordance with protocols provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," read the statement.

    A Twitter user on board the plane said authorities had passengers fill out health forms, and that responders were in hazardous materials suits. 

    A spokesman for United Airlines said medical personnel met the flight at Newark to assist an ill passenger on board the plane. Passengers and crew stayed on the plane until the medical responders cleared the aircraft.

    There were 248 passengers and 14 crew members on United Airlines Flight 45 from Brussels, said the spokesman. 

    The CDC said it was working with EMS and the local health department to assess the ill passenger. 

    Anyone who flies into Newark or John F. Kennedy airports from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea must have their temperature taken with no-touch thermometers upon landing and are also monitored for symptoms for 21 days. 

    Despite sporadic scares of possible Ebola cases in the tri-state in recent months, only one person has been diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus here: Dr. Craig Spencer of Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. Spencer was successfully treated at Bellevue Hospital in early November after returning from Guinea while working with Doctors Without Borders.

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