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Ebola scare triggers Nordic airport emergency

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But passenger from Africa has “innocent respiratory infection”

Passengers on an aircraft that had flown from Amsterdam to Trondheim earlier this week were kept on board for more than two hours after an African passenger suffered a coughing fit. Fearing Ebola, the crew on the KLM flight called emergency services to investigate.

Around 100 passengers were kept on the plane, but with little good reason than fear.

“There was suspicion of an infectious disease and thoughts went quickly to Ebola,” Leif Vonen, Stjørdal municipality’s chief physician, told NRK. “But it became clear from the health situation that this was not the case. The person had just an innocent respiratory infection.”

The incident came as Ebola continues to rampage through West Africa. It emerged that the passenger suspected of having the disease was actually from East Africa.

Police arrived quickly at the airport. But Vonen was critical of the fact it took so long for health services to act. “I think the health personnel came too late. It took an hour. But police were quicker to show up,” he said. “Making sure that the person arrived at a hospital instead of sitting on an airplane is the most important issue. If there really was a contaminated person among them, a waiting time of almost two hours inside the plane would be too long a time.”

NTB / The Local

[pictured: Trondheim Airport, Værnes; photo by Jonas Renhult Skaug]

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