Passengers and crew on a United Airlines flight that landed Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport were not at risk of Ebola infection, health officials said after responding to the plane and assessing a report of a woman with flu-like symptoms.
The ill passenger was on United Airlines Flight 703, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement. The flight had originated from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Firefighters and health department staff reviewed the woman's travel history and determined there was no reason to believe she was suffering from Ebola virus disease, officials said.
After being evaluated by first responders at LAX, the woman declined to be transported to a hospital.
Others on the flight said the sick passenger was moved to a galley at the back of the plane after exhibiting symptoms and mentioning that she had recently visited Africa.
"About halfway through the flight they asked if there was a medical professional onboard, which was my husband," said passenger Geri Sherman. "They proceeded to tell him about this woman in the back who had a high fever and was sick to her stomach."
Sherman said her husband then advised the crew "to stay away from" the woman.
Upon landing, the plane was diverted to a remote area on the west side of the airport. Firefighters and paramedics, wearing protective gear, then boarded the plane and contacted the woman.
"She'd been to South Africa. It wasn't West Africa," said Capt. Jaime Moore of the Los Angeles City Fire Department. "She had no interaction with anybody from West Africa. And it had been recently. It wasn't off of this flight. So the level of concern diminished quickly."
More than 4,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola this year in the Western African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
All occupants of the United Airlines flight were released after being held on the plane for about two hours.
The health department later reissued a statement confirming that, to date, there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in L.A. County.
The incident at LAX came on the same day it was announced that a nurse in Dallas had contracted the deadly disease after treating an Ebola patient who died.