The Grapevine

American Airlines Passengers Confirmed Exposed To Hepatitis A During Flight

Public health officials confirmed that an American Airlines flight attendant with Acute Hepatitis A (HAV) exposed passengers to the virus during a flight in September. The infection is known to be highly contagious and can spread quickly from one person to another. 

The exposure occurred on September 21 and affected at least 18 people on the plane traveling from San Francisco to Charlotte. It was only in early October that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined a male flight attendant on the flight had Hepatitis A. 

Officials at Mecklenburg County Health said they already contacted the affected passengers to check their condition. The health department noted the exposure has no immediate threat to the public, WCNC reported Monday

The CDC said the incubation period for HAV commonly takes 28 days. But in some cases, it may only occur within 15 days or reach up to 50 days. The infection can spread easily two weeks before symptoms appear. 

The agency said the flight attendant had diarrhea on a number of flights within the infectious period. All the exposed passengers on the flight already received Hepatitis A vaccine to prevent the infection. 

The vaccine or an injection of immune globulin is highly recommended to people unvaccinated prior to the virus exposure. The CDC said it works well when received within two weeks of exposure to the virus. 

But the agency called on the health officials and the American Airlines to continue contact investigations. The CDC wants to determine if the flight attendant handled food or beverage and if he experienced symptoms on other flights. 

The airline said it is notifying crews from other flights about the potential exposure to Hepatitis A. 

“The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority,” a representative for American Airlines said in a statement. “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.” 

Health officials said there is a need to control the virus immediately since it can spread very quickly. Having Hepatitis A on flights increases the risk of an outbreak since people move to places following flights and may expose more people. 

American Airlines The CDC confirmed an American Airlines flight attendant with Acute Hepatitis A exposed passengers to the virus during a flight in September. Pixabay

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