Ebola Case on Domestic Flight – Information, Support, Protections

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Today it has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the news media is reporting, that a healthcare worker who attended to the Ebola patient in Dallas has contracted the disease. This healthcare worker traveled on a Frontier Airlines flight on October 13. The CDC has begun contact with the passengers and crew who were aboard this flight.

“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.” CDC Public Statement

“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 [have] traveled on flight 1143.”Frontier Airlines Statement

We are working with our AFA leadership at Frontier, Frontier management and the CDC. Our AFA EAP is engaged in both addressing the needs of the affected crew and initiating a coordinated response throughout our network to support AFA members. AFA EAP: 800-424-2406.

AFA International Officers, Air Safety, Health & Security, AFA EAP, AFA Communications and AFA Government Affairs are all engaged on this issue – both in terms of managing the immediate response, reviewing facts as the information evolves and advocating the best provisions to protect AFA members. Our union is also coordinating with the other unions who represent first responders, aviation workers, healthcare professionals and other affected workers.

Continue to remain vigilant and monitor passengers before and during boarding. Symptoms of Ebola include a high fever, severe headache, nausea and/or abdominal pain. If your passengers display these symptoms, report any concerns of a potentially infectious passenger to the captain and follow the reporting procedures as outlined by your airline.

Remember, all bodily fluids should be treated as if they are known to be contagious. If you believe you have been exposed to a virus or infectious disease, follow notification instructions as provided by your airline.

Review your airline’s procedures for blood borne pathogen containment. These procedures are enforced by OSHA.

As aviation’s First Responders and especially during this time of heightened awareness, protect yourselves in addition to your passengers. AFA strongly urges all Flight Attendants to follow the guidance outlined by the CDC. Please be mindful that hand hygiene and other routine infection control measures should be followed at all times.

AFA members should direct all media inquiries to AFA Media Coordinator Corey Caldwell at 202-434-0586.

CDC October 15, 2014 Press Conference with Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“She should not have flown on a commercial airline,” Frieden said. She did not have nausea or vomit on the plane, so the risk to anyone around her is “extremely low,” Frieden said. “We will, from this moment forward, ensure that no individual monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement,” Frieden stated. He said the agency would work with state and local authorities to enforce this restriction.

CDC guidelines for monitoring movement in the event of Ebola exposure:

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/monitoring-and-movement-of-persons-with-exposure.html

Remain focused on information from AFA, CDC guidance and information from our airlines. Speculation on this issue will be detrimental to our efforts to combat any risk to Flight Attendants and the traveling public. Remain calm and informed. We will continue to provide information frequently.

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