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TB scare on Aer Lingus

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — An alert for passengers on a New York-Shannon-Belfast flight last month to contact Aer Lingus or medical authorities has been issued after it was discovered that one of the people on the flight had tuberculosis.

The passenger with infectious TB was on Aer Lingus flight EI 112, which left JFK New York on Oct. 25, arriving in Shannon and Belfast on Oct. 26.

An airline spokesman said that there were 282 passengers on the flight out of New York and 73 of them continued on to Belfast from Shannon.

The spokesman said that risk of infection was low, but they wanted to alert other travelers so that they can receive proper medical advice as a precautionary measure.

A spokesman for the Mid-Western Health Board in Limerick said the risk wasn’t quantifiable, but international research suggested it was small — less than one in a thousand.

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TB is an airborne disease and the fact that the air was recycled in aircraft increased the risk.

"The person who arrived was unwell and went to see their GP and was referred into hospital. It became clear they were suffering from TB. The risk is very small indeed," the spokesman said.

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