the flight that was stopped in NYC with a lot of sick people. What caused it? Influenza is what is being told. Then why were so many people (10) hospitalized? Or was it a precaution?
BusinessInsider article says what I was thinking: Thank God it wasn't MERS.
And it appears that the illness might have been spread from pilgrims returning from last week's haj celebration.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating illnesses that sickened dozens of passengers on three separate international flights headed into the US this week. It looks like many of the sick passengers were traveling from Mecca, where the Hajj was recently underway, and massive crowds of millions of people gathered.
nor was that flight the only one.
First, there was an Emirates flight from Dubai that landed at JFK airport Wednesday morning and had to be quarantined... Nearly a dozen passengers on board that flight were hospitalized and given anti-viral drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said "preliminary tests indicate that some patients tested positive for influenza and/or other common respiratory viruses." But the agency isn't quite sure this was the common flu.
Then, on Thursday, two flights coming in to Philadelphia from Paris and Munich were briefly held upon arrival because of passengers on board with sore throats and coughs. As NBC reported, those sick passengers were all traveling from Mecca, Saudi Arabia where the annual Hajj pilgrimage was underway in late August. It's not too far from where the first plane took off (in the United Arab Emirates).Infectious disease is always a worry for hij pilgrims, many of whom come from poor countries (poor people often are offered free pilgrimage paid for by richer Muslims).
But there are many requirements for the pilgrims, including vaccinations for infectious disease including seasonal influenza.
One problem being, of course, that the seasonal influenza varies from year to year and sometimes the vaccines don't cover that strain of the virus.
In contrast, MERS has similar "flu like" symptoms, but is a different virus, one related to SARS.
Approximately 35% of reported patients with MERS have died.
Although the majority of human cases of MERS have been attributed to human-to-human infections in health care settings, current scientific evidence suggests that dromedary camels are a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV and an animal source of MERS infection in humans.
However, the exact role of dromedaries in transmission of the virus and the exact route(s) of transmission are unknown. The virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as occurs when providing unprotected care to a patient. Health care associated outbreaks have occurred in several countries, with the largest outbreaks seen in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Korea.
we had at least one scare here: and would be at major risk, not just because of returning Haj pilgrims but because we have so many caregivers in that area.
Influenza spreads quickly in crowded areas which is why during fllu season they often stop visitors to nursing homes and even close churches and theatres to stop the spread of the flu.
In contrast, MERS requires close contact and does not spread easily person to person.
the source seems to be camels, and along with all the usual infectious disease precautions, there were campaigns about not kissing your camel.