Passengers who had been on an American Airlines plane from San Francisco to Charlotte recently experienced an undoubtedly unpleasant surprise when they were notified by the health department that they had been potentially exposed to the hepatitis A virus during the flight.
The Mecklenburg County (NC) Health Department contacted 18 passengers who had been on Flight AA1960 from San Francisco to Charlotte on Sept. 21. They told the passengers that due to a potential exposure on the flight, it was recommended they get a hepatitis A vaccination.
All 18 passengers were vaccinated.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months and, in rare instances, can cause death. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, it usually spreads when, “a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.”
According to the Charlotte Observer, a county official said the exposure caused no risk to the general public; only to the passengers on the plane. Furthermore, the official and an American Airlines spokesperson said they didn’t know what caused the possible exposure. American Airlines released the following statement about the incident:
“The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority. We are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials and will coordinate with them on any required health and safety-related measures.”
Based on how the hep A virus spreads, one would hope that all workers who handle food and drink would wash their hands after they use the toilet, but…?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary