United Continental Holdings Inc. is offering tests for the Ebola virus to flight attendants who staffed the two trips taken last month by the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the U.S.
The employees are “not panicked” by the disclosure that a passenger with the disease was aboard a pair of United jets, Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, said today in a telephone interview. The man was not contagious at the time, Chicago-based United said yesterday.
“AFA worked with United management to ensure that the testing was available for the flight attendants if they so desired,” Caldwell said in an e-mailed statement. The two flights had 14 attendants, Caldwell said.
United carried Thomas Eric Duncan on the final two legs of a three-stage trip to the U.S. that began in Monrovia, Liberia. He flew first to Brussels, then took United flights to Washington’s Dulles International Airport and, after a layover, on to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Duncan is now hospitalized in Dallas.
Christen David, a United spokeswoman, said she didn’t know whether the testing offer also covered pilots or passengers on the planes.
Current methods to screen for Ebola require a blood sample to be processed in a laboratory, which takes about four hours. Adding on time for samples to be shipped to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratories equipped for the work means that results may not be received for a few days.
–With assistance from Caroline Chen in New York.
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