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Sick airline passenger suspected to be suffering from cholera

Passengers from Haiti and Dominican Republic are screened for the rapidly spreading disease in these countries.

The officials of American Airlines have confirmed that there was a suspected cholera patient on flight 778 arriving from Dominican Republic at Miami on Thanksgiving night.

The identity of the patient has not been revealed. If confirmed, this could be the first case of cholera in Miami and third in Florida.

The airline claimed that the passenger developed symptoms similar to those of cholera during flight, otherwise he would not have been allowed to board the flight.

A doctor on board helped the sick man.

Passengers from Haiti and Dominican Republic are screened for the rapidly spreading disease in these countries.

A spokeswoman of the CDC in Atlanta, Kristen Nordlund, said that they were aware of the presence of a suspected cholera patient on flight but could not confirm it as a case of cholera before getting the results of tests which will take some time.

Flight crew and airline alerted authorities
The flight arrived at the Miami International Airport around 6 p.m. and the emergency workers present at the airport rushed the patient to Jackson Memorial Hospital immediately.

He is reported to be stable and recovering.

Tim Smith, spokesman for the American Airlines, said, “Before landing, the crew radioed down and advised they had a passenger onboard who had symptoms that appeared cholera and he would need immediate medical attention the minute they landed.”

Smith refused to confirm that the sick man was a medical professional working in Haiti.

The plane was immediately taken out of circulation and “thoroughly cleaned.” It returned to service on Friday.

No reason for alarm
The U.S, Centre for Disease Prevention in Atlanta was also immediately informed by the airlines. Other passengers onboard are not at any risk of infection.

Cholera mainly spreads through water and food contamination.

“The risk of transmitting cholera from one person to another is very low.” Fermin Leguen, Chief physician and director, epidemiology of the county, said.

A spokeswoman of the CDC in Atlanta, Kristen Nordlund, said that they were aware of the presence of a suspected cholera patient on flight but could not confirm it as a case of cholera before getting the results of tests which will take some time.

The Department of Health in Florida also declined to comment about on the suspected patient.

Earlier a woman from Collier County who had visited Haiti was found infected with the disease. Another case is also suspected but not confirmed till now.

Health officials ruled out any possibility of Cholera spreading through travelers and said airline passengers were also not at risk.