Passenger With "Vomiting Fit" Dies on Nigeria Flight to JFK (Video)
|Demonstrators demand a travel ban outside the White House on Oct. 16 to stop the spread of the Ebola virus. Photo: Getty Images|
Ebola ruled out as passenger dies on Nigeria flight to JFK
A passenger died on a Nigeria-to-JFK flight after a vomiting fit Thursday — and a top lawmaker said officials gave the corpse only a “cursory” exam before declaring that the victim did not have Ebola.
Rep. Peter King said in a letter to Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection that the handling of the remains exposed serious flaws in airport preparedness for an Ebola outbreak.
Between 70 and 100 passengers a day arrive at JFK from the Ebola epicenter countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, King noted, and they have access to public restrooms and mingle with other travelers before their first screening.
“Given the high volume of travelers at JFK, it is essential that extraordinary measures are taken to intercept possible Ebola-infected passengers,” while keeping the public and first responders safe, King (R-LI) wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Customs Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske.
“These individuals transit the airport with the rest of the traveling population, including using the restrooms,” King wrote.
|Rep. Peter King|
His letter demands Homeland Security immediately beef up protocols for potentially infected passengers both in flight and at the terminal itself, prior to their reaching the screening location.
The letter also demands better training and safety equipment for the Port Authority police and Customs and Border Protection officials who can come into contact with high-risk passengers.
The unnamed passenger, age 63, had boarded an Arik Air plane Wednesday night out of Lagos, Nigeria, which has had 19 Ebola cases this year though no new cases in the past month.