Last updated: 09:01 AM ET, Mon August 04 2014

Ebola Scare at London-Gatwick Proves False

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | August 04, 2014

Ebola Scare at London-Gatwick Proves False

The outbreak of the Ebola virus in west Africa has the entire world on edge, so when an elderly woman began sweating and vomiting, and later collapsed on the gangway on Saturday at London-Gatwick Airport, fears ran rampant on a Gambia Bird flight that originated in Sierra Leone on Saturday.

The 72-year old woman later died in a London hospital and tests came back negative for Ebola, but not before widespread panic raced through the 128 passengers on the flight and at Gatwick Airport.

Ebola has killed more than 700 in west Africa, including more than 250 in Sierra Leone.

Officials quickly quarantined the plane and began tracking down anyone who might have had contact with the woman. A Gatwick spokeswoman told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the plane, as well as some airline and airport staff, were briefly quarantined "as a precaution." The Gambia Bird flight later made its return trip.

Dr Brian McCloskey, director of global public health at Public Health England, told the BBC there was no health risk to other passengers or crew, as the passenger did not have the symptoms during the flight.

"It was considered very unlikely to be a case of Ebola but testing was done as a precaution, and was negative,” he said. “The correct procedures were followed to confirm there was no reason to quarantine the airplane, the passengers or staff. PHE can confirm there was no public health risk around the sad death of this individual."

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