Flight from UAE quarantined at JFK Airport

And no, it’s not big news because Vanilla Ice was aboard. I chose this link because it was one of the newer ones, and not from a website that requires a paywall or locks up my computer.

NBC News said that a lot of the 500-plus passengers were returning from the Hajj, which had some people wondering if it was bioterrorism. Doubtful for many reasons, among them being that these people are believed to have influenza and there has been an outbreak in and around Mecca in recent days.

It seems reasonable that the Hajj would be a ready vector for unintentional transmission of communicable disease, what with people from all parts of the world crammed together.

Someone on my facebook linked the article with the quote:
“The life of everyone on board depends upon just one thing: finding someone back there who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner.”

That started a run of Airplane jokes, including an actual pilot saying that he had the lasagna.

Oh, of course the “Airplane” jokes.

Here is a list of required and recommended vaccines; a flu shot is in the latter category.

So what exactly was the illness? What I am reading is that cause of the illness is not known but they released the passengers anyway–which sounds like a very poor idea.

Reports say it’s flu.

I wonder how many of the exposed passengers will get it? They were in a confined space with people coughing and sneezing throughout the long flight. That entire plane is contaminated and will require extensive cleaning and disinfecting.

How can CDC just let these people continue their trip and spread this around the country?


Where are the nine that refused treatment? Are they on other planes infecting potentially even more people?

It’s time to get our flu shots. ASAP.

Well, flu shots are always a good idea. But you are aware we don’t typically quarantine people with influenza against their will?

I thought the CDC had that authority?

I haven’t heard for sure when public safety is placed above an individual’s rights.

Hundreds of people exposed to confirmed cases of influenza on a long flight and they happily go on there way? Some of those passengers will get sick within a couple days. How many won’t ever be known.

This logic is how pandemics can get started.

Two more flights were quarantined for the same reasons, both in Philadelphia; one originated in Paris and the other from Munich.

But those were quarantined to prevent an outbreak of pop muzik.

What exactly do you want them to do?

It sucks if people have the flu but we’re not talking about Ebola here (and even if we were talking about Ebola, remember how silly things got in 2014?) and we don’t shackle people in prison cells even if they definitely have the flu, let alone because they might have been exposed to someone who does have it.

It is almost exactly 100 years since the outbreak of the Spanish flu. Worldwide, it infected 500 million people and resulted in the deaths of 50-100 million (then 3-5% of the world’s population). In contrast to most influenza outbreaks, the Spanish flu disproportionately killed healthy young adults.

Influenza is scarier than Ebola.

And probably many of us had relatives who died because of that flu. I had one who was 19 and sent to Europe to fight in World War I. A few months later he was dead of the flu. And later his mother living on a farm in the Midwest caught it and died. Other relatives had the flu and survived.

Oh well. That sucks but I’m not sure how it changes anything.

My paternal grandfather had a severe tremor that was dubbed “Parkinson’s” but he didn’t look like any PD patient I’ve ever seen, and it didn’t progress. We believe that he probably had that influenza; he was an adolescent in 1918. My dad said, “You used to see other people like that around, but you don’t any more.”

That disease did things to people that couldn’t be predicted in any way.

During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, one of my friends posted on Facebook that her then 15-year-old daughter came to her in tears, afraid that we were all going to die from Ebola. Mom dried her tears and flipped open the laptop to show her why that was extremely unlikely, and then it transformed into a long talk about AIDS, something she first learned about when she was about 15 and unlike Ebola or influenza, we didn’t know at the time what caused it or exactly how it was spread, or how to treat it either.

ETA: Around the same time, she mentioned that her then 8-year-old daughter came home from school with a permission slip for a flu shot to be given by the school nurse, and said, “I want you and Daddy to NOT sign it.” (They’re divorced but she sees her dad all the time.) Nope, little one, you’re getting that shot!

There’s an Ebola outbreak now in the war zone in the Congo, which is why we aren’t hearing much about it, in addition to no known non-Congolese being affected (yet). I sure hope it burns itself out the way most of the other outbreaks did.