There’s a sick person on my flight: What do I do?

Fox News | Michael Bartiromo | March 13, 2020

No one likes to be seated near a sick passenger — and that’s especially true during a pandemic.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently puts the risk of contracting COVID-19 on planes at “low” due to the nature of “how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes,” that doesn’t mean travelers shouldn’t take every health precaution possible, and maintain social distancing from anyone exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness.

Should you find yourself on a plane with a sick passenger, however, you should be aware that the federal government and the CDC have a protocol in place for the airline industry in the event of such instances.

If a passenger is found to be sick on an international flight, federal regulations require the aircraft crew to report the sick passenger to the CDC before arriving in the U.S. The CDC also explains that, if other passengers were exposed to a sick person on a flight, public health officials can launch what’s called a “contact investigation” to help identify and reach out to anyone who may have had contact with this person during their air travel.

Should you find yourself on a plane with a sick passenger, there are protocols in place in the event of such instances.

Should you find yourself on a plane with a sick passenger, there are protocols in place in the event of such instances. (iStock)

“Sometimes CDC is notified about a sick traveler while the plane is still in the air or shortly after the plane has landed,” the agency explains online. “However, in most cases CDC is notified when a sick traveler seeks treatment at a medical facility.”

The CDC would then be responsible for coordinating an investigation between federal agencies and airlines to determine where and how extensively this person traveled (for instance, did they take connecting flights?) and if they were contagious at the time. If the passenger was deemed to be contagious, investigators consult airlines for flight manifests to determine who may have been in contact with the sick person.

Depending on the disease associated with the passenger’s illness, health officials will create a “contact zone” from the seating chart — or rather, an area of the seating chart identifying passengers who were likely exposed.

State and local health officials then use the manifest and “contact zone” information to track down the exposed passengers, conduct health checks, and outline any subsequent steps.

“Contact zones” on planes, however, may not always be limited to areas around the infected passenger: the CDC says any traveling companions, regardless of where they are seated, are considered part of the “contact zone.” Children under 2, who were seated on their guardians’ laps,  are also considered part of any contact zone when investigating a case of measles or rubella.

According to a recent study, whether you sit near a window seat or an aisle may determine how much interaction you may have with infected passengers — although it’s important to note that this in no way negates being considered part of a “contact zone” at risk of exposure.

A study by the “FlyHealthy Research Team,” which has been cited by National Geographic, found that those who were seated in the window had less interaction with people located at least two rows away from them, potentially limiting their exposure. Those seated in aisle seats, however, were more likely to come into contact with passengers moving about the cabin to use the lavatory, or with the airline’s crew members — an average of 64 contacts, versus the window seat’s 12, according to study leads Vicki Stover Hertzberg of Emory University and Howard Weiss of Penn State.

How are plane seats disinfected?

But again, the CDC is still learning about the novel coronavirus and how it spreads, so anyone in close contact with other airline passengers should take every precaution. For example, travelers should avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth after coming into contact with potentially germ-ridden surfaces, and they should frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The TSA also allows passengers to bring alcohol-based hand sanitizers in carry-on luggage if the containers measure less than 3.4 ounces.

Finally, the CDC advises you monitor your health for two weeks after returning from travel. If you start to feel sick with “fever, cough or have difficulty breathing,” stay home and contact a doctor to report symptoms.

And lastly, anyone with plans to travel — and hopefully this goes without saying — should reconsider flying altogether, and stay home if feeling sick or experiencing symptoms. (After all, you don’t want to find yourself banned for life   from your preferred airline.)

Traveling during coronavirus: Should you postpone spring break trips?

FoxNews.com | by Michael Bartiromo | March 13, 2020

Many people are rescheduling spring break plans as coronavirus spreads – but should you?

The short answer? It depends on where you are traveling and how you are getting there.

Popular domestic spring break destinations such as Miami and South Padre Island are in states that are currently experiencing increased positive cases of coronavirus.  As of March 13, Florida had 42 positive cases, and 2 deaths, while Texas had 28 confirmed.  On Friday, Texas declared a state of disaster for all counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which typically does not issue advisories for U.S. travel, advise those considering travel to be aware of the community spread of the disease in certain areas and the elevated risk it could potentially pose to those traveling through airports or communal areas in those states.

Ensure where you are going is still open as many popular tourist destinations both internationally and domestically have closed.  Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, for instance, will close starting Saturday until end the end of March.

The CDC currently puts the risk of infection at “low” when flying between areas that are not experiencing “sustained community transmission.

The CDC currently puts the risk of infection at “low” when flying between areas that are not experiencing “sustained community transmission. (iStock)

Method of travel is just as important to consider, as several cruise liners have canceled voyages after the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess both experienced outbreaks that left 700 and 21 passengers testing positive for coronavirus, respectively.

Planes are still in operation – however, some domestic airlines have canceled flights or altered schedules amid the decrease in demand. The CDC currently puts the risk of infection at “low” when flying between areas that are not experiencing “sustained community transmission,” but urges travelers to always maintain best practices when it comes to safety and hygiene on flights.

For vulnerable populations – meaning those above 60 or people who have underlying health issues – travel to areas experiencing outbreaks is strongly advised against by the CDC.

Several students spoke to Fox 11 about their concerns over the virus. While many were concerned about COVID-19, and vowed to stay home, others felt the deals were too good to pass up.

Several students spoke about their concerns over the virus

Several students spoke about their concerns over the virus (iStock)

“So long as we take proper measures, we should be fine,” said Kadin Barr of Green Bay, who was flying out Tampa Bay with his family, Fox 11 reported.

“I’m staying at home spring break, I’m not going out,” said Wisconsin student Anthony Balao. “I don’t wanna get that!”

Rescheduling

If you are concerned about coronavirus and need to reschedule your travel plans, most flights and lodging services, — including Airbnb — are offering fee waivers and refunds for eligible travelers wishing to change plans.

Check with your airline or accommodations to see what their policy is regarding rescheduling or canceling vacation plans.

Traveling

If you do plan to stick to your spring break plan, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions – keep your hands washed, avoid touching your face, nose and mouth, and practice social distancing. If traveling by plane, carry alcohol-based wipes and sanitize all high-volume touch areas such as armrests, tray tables, seatbelts and call buttons.

Be prepared for the possibility that someone on the plane tests positive – which potentially could interrupt your vacation plans either at your destination or on the return flight. To prepare, pack extra clothing and medications in case of emergency or quarantine.

 

Experts say bed bugs can be found in ride shares

Bed bugs

Just the thought of bed bugs is enough to make most peoples’ skin crawl, but actually getting them in your house could be just as costly as it is uncomfortable; and cases are on the rise.  (KCTV5 News)

Eyewitness News 3 (WFSB) – by Matt McFarland and Olyvia Lank | February 25, 2020

The reports of bed bugs are on the rise in Connecticut.

Those whose job it is to get rid of the blood sucking bugs say they’re not just in homes anymore.

Experts described bed bugs as excellent hitchhikers. They can be easily transported into homes, hotels, and there’s another location most don’t think about.

“In general, bed bugs are not discriminatory. They’ll go whether you’re high end, low end, mid end,” said Mike Lipsett.

Mike Lipsett is nicknamed the Bug Man and he says his company, Connecticut Pest Elimination, gets calls daily.

“Anybody can get them, any facility can get them because they’re brought in by somebody,” Lipsett said.

While a nuisance, it’s important to note bed bugs don’t carry diseases like ticks or mosquitoes, but they reproduce quickly and travel easily through clothes, luggage, and other personal belongings.

Now, it has some worried about popular ride share cars.

“It very well could happen. We had a client years ago that used to take the train a lot. They happened to look in his briefcase and it was caked with it. Here’s a guy that got on a train, now that’s rare, here’s a guy that never even thought to look,” Lipsett said.

In fact, a California law firm is representing people who say they got bed bugs in ride shares. Down in Texas, one Dallas-based exterminator says he’s been treating cars.

What about in Connecticut? Experts say they haven’t seen any reports of bed bugs and ride shares.

Doctor Gale Ridge heads up Connecticut’s Coalition Against Bed Bugs and she says there’s a reason why bed bug infestation in a car would be extremely rare.

“If a bed bug was accidentally dropped in the car in the middle of winter, it’s likely to freeze to death overnight. Conversely, if it’s in a parking lot during the summer day, it’s going to die from the heat. They stress out very easily,” Dr. Ridge said.

While pest professionals use heat and chemicals to solve the problems, Dr. Ridge says one of the best pesticides people can use is simply vacuum cracks and crevices where bed bugs live.

Experts also say people shouldn’t panic.

Connecticut’s Agricultural Experiment Station has a website with plenty of detailed information, which you can find here.

Bedbug infestation wreaking havoc at Paris hotels

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS JAN 10, 2020  by Storm Gifford

Bedbugs are ruining business for many Parisian hoteliers.

Bedbugs are ruining business for many Parisian hoteliers. (animatedfunk/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Quelle horreur!

Bedbugs, usually thought of as an American nuisance, are driving Parisians crazy with their appearance in hotels.

The pests, known as punaises de lit in France, are causing financial losses upwards of millions of euros for business owners in the French capital.

One Paris hotel group conceded that even ritzy hotels are falling victim to the pests — and the problem is worsening.

“It’s traumatizing hotel managers. We talk about it among ourselves, but timidly,” Jean-Marc D’Orx, the general president of a French hotel union, told Le Parisien. “The hotelier is a victim in this kind of case. It’s not that the hotel is dirty, but it has welcomed people who have brought the bedbugs with them.”

The number of reported bedbug cases in the nation has ballooned from 180,000 to 4000,000 in two short years, reported The Local.

And in 2018, there were 100,000 bedbug infestations just in Paris alone, according to the French Union for Pest Control.

Fearing massive financial losses and bad reputations, hotel managers also must shutter their establishments until the arrival of new beds and pest controls carry out inspections.

Bedbugs, usually only just 7 millimeters long, crave human blood. Bites can result in allergic reactions, skin rashes, and in some cases, psychological trauma.

One TripAdvisor commenter, who allegedly stayed at a Paris hotel in November, stated, “Bedbugs, no handling of the matter and no treatment. You’re better off sleeping in your car.”

 

As Boise grows, bed bug infestations are on the rise in the Treasure Valley

BOISE, Idaho — You may have heard of bed bugs being a problem in big cities like New York, but as Boise grows, it’s taking on those big-city problems as well.

In the past six months, Ada County Paramedics have noticed an increase in bed bug calls.

Because of more people traveling to and from Boise, Dina Hardaway, Infection Control Officer for Ada County Paramedics, said that more bed bugs are coming into our area as well.

“There is so much more international travel now; we’re getting more populated just within our city and within our county,” Hardaway said. “Just with those conditions alone, they are brought into our area.”

Due to the uptick in bed bug cases, Ada County Paramedics have spent the past few months learning new protocols, including tracking data on infestations and learning techniques on how to identify and exterminate them from equipment.

Hardaway says that while the bugs aren’t a public health crisis– because they don’t spread disease– they can still be a nuisance.

To prevent the spread of bed bugs, be sure to check the seams of mattresses and underneath base boards. Make sure to wash second hand clothing and clean up used furniture after buying it. If you’re traveling, wash all of your clothing and vacuum your suitcase.

If you do end up getting beg bugs, there’s no need to call 911– just be sure to call your local exterminator.

For more information on how to get rid of bed bugs, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Experts Warn of Bed Bug Encounters Ahead of Busy Travel Season

travel.jpgFAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 29, 2019

The National Pest Management Association shares tips to avoid contact with hitchhiking pests during Bed Bug Awareness week.

As the busy travel season commences and families finalize their vacation plans for summer, experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are warning vacationers to remain vigilant during Bed Bug Awareness Week, this June 2-8. An annual observance recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events, Bed Bug Awareness Week serves as an important reminder that bed bugs can wreak havoc if brought home after traveling, making prevention key to staving off an infestation.

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests, and according to NPMA’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey, 97 percent of U.S. pest control professionals surveyed reported they treated for bed bugs in 2018, with 68 percent saying they treated hotels specifically. A recent online research study conducted between January 2018 and May 2019 by Advanced Symbolics Inc. using a representative sample of 274,500 Americans revealed a 9 percent increase in people reporting bed bugs from just April to May, 2019, and a 21 percent increase in concerns regarding bed bugs as a potential health and home threat during that same time period.

“Bed bugs can be found anywhere, whether it be a 5-star hotel or a summer camp,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “These pests do not discriminate, and many people usually transport bed bugs with them back to their homes without even knowing they’re doing so. To prevent these freeloaders from hitchhiking back home with your family, it is important to take proper precautions when traveling this summer.”

To help vacationers avoid bringing home any hitchhiking pests this travel season, the NPMA is sharing the following prevention tips:

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Pull back hotel sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, change rooms/establishments immediately.
  • Carry a small flashlight to assist you with visual inspections.
  • Vacuum and properly inspect suitcases after returning from a vacation. Do not bring the suitcase into your home until it has been inspected.
  • If you think you may have brought bed bugs home with you, seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation, as this is not a do-it-yourself pest.

For more information about how to prevent bed bugs visit PestWorld.org.

United Flight Hit with ‘Ant-mageddon’ as Bugs ‘Spill Out’ of Suitcase in Overhead Bin, Says Passenger

UA_Ants.jpg

June 17, 2019 – The plane will “be taken out of service for extermination,” according to a statement from United.

Forget snakes on a plane! A United flight experienced a creepy, crawly situation that left passengers bugging out.

A passenger on a United flight from Venice, Italy, to Newark, New Jersey, reported an experience that left her and several seat mates feeling “heeby-jeeby-goose-bumpy-get-me-a-gin gross.”

“On the plane from Venice to New York, when a large, fat ant walks over my pillow,” Charlotte Burns wrote in a Twitter thread that went on to document her ant-filled, 9-hour journey. “Minutes later, another fat little bug hurries over the television screen. Then another one—on my arm!”

After she spotted the first few insects and alerted the crew, she says, flight attendants asked if she could wait until after take off to have her seat inspected. When she reported more bugs had appeared once airborne, she writes that she was asked to wait until after the meal service, which was just beginning.

Burns notes that she didn’t want to “be difficult or cause a fuss,” but as the critters multiplied she felt couldn’t sit idly by.

At one point, a fellow passenger in the center row of seats on the transatlantic flight said he had seen a “parade” of ants in an overhead bin in the row in front of Burns.

She and the other passenger, who she dubbed “middle aisle guy” in her Twitter saga, stood up as a flight attendant came through to try and take care of the situation.

“Me and the middle aisle guy are standing up like we are the ant enforcers while the senior cabin crew guy rocks up, armed with… a flashlight and a wet cloth. Sure, ant-mageddon might be undone with a lemony rag, why not,” she writes.

“Me and middle aisle guy say please take the bags out and check beneath. He does. ANTS! Ants lie beneath,” she recounts.

The crew member woke the sleeping owner of the bag, inspected it, and found it was indeed full of live ants that, in Burns’s depiction “spill out.”

“The guy in front pulls down his case (which btw isn’t zipped shut, as middle aisle guy notes to me in an aside),” she writes, “and ants ants ants spill out, running in every which direction.”

The crew member, Burns says, then opened the case on the seat, which resulted in “ants running everywhere.” The owner of the bag, she writes, “is using his hands as little tweezers, picking them off one by one. Cabin guy is using sterile lemon wipes.”

Burns says she was offered “three kinds of white wine” for her troubles and other passengers were “unflappable” when it came to the bugs. In a statement to PEOPLE, a representative for United noted the ants were “contained to a limited area of the cabin.”

Burns also alleges that another flight attendant asked her if she was “going to do anything” seemingly in retaliation against the man whose bag contained the bugs. The crew member, Burns says, stated that the bugs “came from his bag. They weren’t on the plane.”

In a statement, United told PEOPLE, “We are concerned by the experience a customer reported on United flight 169 from Venice to Newark. We had been in contact with the crew during the flight, where they advised the ants were isolated from a customer’s bag in the overhead bin, and was contained to a limited area of the cabin.”

The message continues, “The airplane landed at Newark this afternoon and has be taken out of service for extermination. We followed proper protocol by notifying customs, immigration, as well as agriculture of the issue.”

United has had its fair share of passenger grievances aired on social media. In January, a medical emergency onboard a Hong Kong-bound flight caused passengers to be stranded in freezing cold for 16 hours. That same month, a passenger announced that he was suing the airline over what he alleges was a coverup of an incident in which a pilot was almost “sucked out” of the plane.

Brit-itch Airways: Plane flies on despite bosses knowing it was infested with bloodsucking bed bugs

Main Image

Bug brother…BA jet was infested with BedBugs but airline bosses kept it flying and in service!  Passengers were bitten by infectious BED BUGS on BA flight.

February 25, 2016 | by Stephen Moyes | The Sun

A BRITISH Airways jet infested with bed bugs was allowed to keep flying as there was no time to disinfect it, staff claim.

Cabin crew logged the issue because passengers were bitten but bosses decided to keep the aircraft in service.

Staff hit out after the critters were spotted on a Boeing 747 from the US to Heathrow last week.

Coming to a seat near you ... close-up of a bed bug

Coming to a seat near you…aisle or window?

One passenger was nipped at 30,000ft and others saw the bugs and their eggs.

The problem was so serious that row 47 in the economy section was closed. But BA workers claim engineers did not have time to kill the creatures between flights.

The plane took off again and crew again had to deal with the bugs. Days later another “severe” infestation was reported as the jet flew from Cape Town to London.Last night it was claimed bugs were also seen on other flights by the 747 — now fully fumigated.

One passenger said: “This turns my stomach.”

A BA spokesman said: “Reports of bed bugs on board are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we continually monitor our aircraft.”

Blood suckers

BED bugs are small blood-sucking insects that live in cracks and crevices in and around beds or chairs.

Attracted by body heat and carbon dioxide, they bite exposed skin and feed on blood. Adult bed bugs look like lentils, oval, flat and up to 5mm long.

An infestation from one female can rise to 5,000 bed bugs in six months.

Mark Krafft last year took pics of bites he said he suffered on BA, below.

Vicious ... bed bug bites allegedly inflicted on BA passenger Mark Krafft last year
Vicious … bed bug bites allegedly inflicted on BA passenger Mark Krafft last year

A BA spokesman said: “Whenever any report of bed bugs is received, we launch a thorough investigation and, if appropriate, remove the aircraft from service and use specialist teams to treat it.

“The presence of bed bugs is an issue faced occasionally by hotels and airlines all over the world.

“British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bed bugs on board are extremely rare.

“Nevertheless, we are vigilant about the issue and continually monitor our aircraft.”

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