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Despite Fever, CDC Did Not Bar Second Texas Ebola Patient From Frontier Airlines Flight

October 16, 2014

CNN is reporting that the second Texas nurse diagnosed with Ebola told the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that she had a slight fever before being boarding a Frontier Airlines flight. While it is unclear exactly what the nurse was told, she was not barred from boarding the plane. 

The nurse had a temperature of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, CNN said, below the CDC's no-fly threshold of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The CDC is considering lowering the fever threshold. 

Frontier Airlines has placed six crew members on paid leave for 21 days, CNN reports. Frontier Airlines CEO David Siegel described the move as coming "out of an abundance of caution" in a letter to employees. 

Because the nurse was not vomiting or bleeding on the flight, the chance of her infecting other passengers was very low, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told Reuters. However, she should not have been aboard, Frieden said. 

The LA Times reports that Frontier has ordered the removal of seat covers and carpeting from the plane. The plane, which was given a routine but "thorough" cleaning Monday night, was then used for five flights Tuesday before the airline received word that the passenger had had Ebola. The plane was then moved to Denver on Wednesday for another cleaning. 

Contacting Passengers

The 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.

Frontier is working closely with CDC to identify and notify passengers who may have traveled on flight 1143 on Oct. 13.  Passengers who may have traveled on flight 1143 should contact CDC at 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636).

Travel Industry Impact

The latest news in the Ebola outbreak has begun to make its impact felt on the travel industry. From Friday through early Monday, news of the virus sent airline stocks into a tumble. As of Monday afternoon, United Airlines shares were down eight percent, Delta shares were down seven percent, American Airlines shares were down six percent and shares of JetBlue and Southwest Airlines were down five percent. In all, these stocks have lost at least 13 percent over the past five trading days, except for American Airlines, which saw a 19 percent decline. 

Additionally, major cruise lines have modified their itineraries to avoid some ports in Africa. Affected itineraries include the 35-day "African Explorer" on Holland America Line's Rotterdam; Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Mariner's Dakar, Senegal, call on October 13; and Seabourn Cruise Line's Seabourn Sojourn's calls in Senegal and Gambia during the 39-Day “La Condamine to the Cape” itinerary. 

Keep visiting for further updates on this developing story. 

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