Dozens of passengers on a weekend US Airways Express flight have been told to get tuberculosis tests and possible vaccinations after a passenger in a face mask was taken off of the plane in Phoenix.
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health was still conducting tests to determine if the passenger was ill, a spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. But passengers told reporters over the weekend they were asked to check with their doctors about precautions relating to tuberculosis exposure.
Flight 2846, carrying more than 70 people, landed at Sky Harbor International Airport from Austin, Texas, just before 5 p.m. Saturday.
Passengers said they were not allowed to get off the plane right away. Rather, paramedics and police officers boarded, put a medical face mask on a man and then escorted him off the plane.
“As we were taxiing, a stewardess came down the aisle,” passenger Dean Davidson told KNXV-TV. “She had a mask and she instructed the gentleman to put a mask on.”
“The fireman said he has tuberculosis, he’s contagious, you must see your physicians immediately and you must be tested in three months’ time,” Davidson said.
Bill McGlashen of US Airways told reporters that the passenger had been cleared to fly when he boarded in Austin, but his status was changed to “no-fly” while the plane was in the air.
“The warning that came from the CDC did not occur until after the flight had departed so the passenger did not have a red flag in their reservation system or any warning there,” McGlashen said.
“Passengers were provided some information about what had occurred. And we are following up the situation with the CDC and monitoring it with them,” McGlashen said.
Local officials were notified of the case and were testing to see if the passenger does have tuberculosis, a contagious air-borne disease, caused by a bacterium.