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TB Plane Passenger Overexposed

Updated on May 31, 2007

TB Plane Patient Overexposed? - Don't Get Me Started!

So I'm on the elliptical machine at the gym this morning (listening to Glamorous Life by Sheila E. followed by C'est La Vie by Robbie Nevil) when I look up to see a white truck being filmed by a news crew on one of the monitors that carry news shows at that time of the morning. Across the scroll at the bottom it says, "Breaking News" and it seems as if the helicopter is having difficulty staying still enough to get a shake free shot of this truck as it drives at normal speed through traffic. This seemed all too familiar, a white vehicle driving the streets and getting news coverage? It was so dull to watch you couldn't quite figure out why they would stay on this shot and yet you couldn't look away. Of course, all I could think was that O.J. Simpson had killed again and was now making his getaway in a truck instead of a Bronco but then the scroll at the bottom of the television screen explained, "TB plane passenger being taken to Denver hospital for quarantine." Obviously a slow news day. TB plane patient overexposed? - Don't Get Me Started!

The news has been full of this story and frankly, while I understand the need for some concern, there are several doctors stating that the level of infection this guy had was so slight that the whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Be that as it may, I can tell you from a first hand experience, you can't be too careful. We were headed to Arizona on yet another Southwest flight to go to a wedding or bar mitzvah or something. They loaded us on the "bus" airline and then we all just sat there. Suddenly you saw flight attendants, gate attendants and pilots walking to the back of the plane. What was to be an hour flight ended up being two hours on the tarmac in Vegas before we even took off for the hour flight to Arizona. Finally they came on the mic and told us that a woman had boarded the plane with three children, when she pre-boarded (Read my rant about pre-boarders...Pre-Boarders Are Killing Air Travel) one of the children was asleep in her arms. When the flight attendant assisted her in getting all her kids seat belted in, she noticed the one who was asleep was covered in red spots...chicken pox! So, they had to wait until they could contact the woman's doctor to find out if the kid (the woman and her other two kids) were still infectious. They couldn't get a hold of her doctor so they had the airline's doctor assess the situation and finally she and her spotted kids were taken off the plane. When we landed in Arizona no one was allowed to leave the plane until a representative came on and told us that we would all be signing waivers that they had told us we could possibly have been exposed to chicken pox. If we agreed to sign the waiver, they would mail us I think $200 a piece in travel vouchers. Well, come on, it was a three hour tour that should have only been an hour; of course everyone was like, "Give me a barf bag and I'll sign it, anything to get the hell out of here."

Having never had chicken pox myself (and being a Jew, which translates into a hypochondriac) I of course was checking myself hourly for two weeks after the incident sure that I had not only contracted chicken pox but was also cursed with several other diseases. (Had it always hurt when I raised my arm this way or was it the start of degenerative arthritis?) So I get a little of what these passengers are going through and I have sympathy for them.

We all know that once you get on a plane you're sucking in the worst air imaginable for the duration of your flight and I don't care if you wear an Ion sensor around your neck, a surgical mask (in the hope of looking more like Michael Jackson) or wrap yourself in cellophane, you're being exposed to the world's nastiness during air travel. Get over it.

So while I agree that we should all be warned by fellow passengers of their communicable diseases, I also think that we need to understand that we're not all that safe even if the person you're fighting with for the arm rest has fresh breath and no signs of sickness. It's just another pitfall of life, you know, like eating the 100 calorie packs like they're going out of style and not understanding why you're not losing weight when you didn't eat real Oreos. Never admitting you have just ingested every little baggie in the box, consuming 12,000 calories and enough aspartame to pickle your kidneys. (Okay, well maybe that's only my pitfall.)

The point is that they could have been filming a Wonder Bread truck for all we know and why we should have to see the transportation of a quarantined TB patient the same way we watched an ex-football star try to escape from police is beyond me. After all, they had their man. It wasn't as if police and news crews were chasing a fugitive. From seeing pictures of Lindsay Lohan passed out in a limo to the TB patient, I'm as Ryan Seacrest used to say, "Scott Out!" TB plane patient overexposed? - Don't Get Me Started!

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    • supercibor profile image

      Hector Herrera 9 years ago from Dominican Republic

      Please correct me If I am wrong. I belive that to get TB from someone you need to share eating utensils, have sex, shre towels, etc.

      This is unless we are talking about a highly infectious strain that can be transmitted through the air.

      The media is hungry for this kind of material and viewers too.

      I agreed that air quality inside a plane is dangerous.So many people spreading the flu and other deseases.It's the same as going to the movies, concerts etc.

      We just hope that our inmune system respond.

      Why worry so much. Let's enjoy life because worrying too much is also a desease.



    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 10 years ago from Las Vegas

      ST - Which by the way, I can only think that this means "Sexually Translated" as in STD but I think it's because of all the "disease talk" we're talking about here.

      You're right about the whole thing (of course) my disgust was more about the media's coverage of the van taking him to the hospital, showing him leaving the van to enter the hospital, etc. like it was Anna Nicole's death or O.J. Simpson fleeing again. We have a right to know something that's going on (considering the lack of accurate info we get on the war, etc.) so if it's about disease, so be it.

      Meanwhile, many of us hypochondriacs will be scrubbing ourselves down like Meryl Streep in the film Silkwood until we get the "all clear" sign...even though we weren't anywhere near the many planes he was able to board while he was on the "no fly" list.

      Hmmm...boy don't we all feel safer with that news that came out late yesterday? That this guy was on a no fly list and still managed to fly from place to place like the plane at the start of Indiana Jones??

    • profile image

      ST 10 years ago

      You are freekin nuts. Multi drug resistant TB is a serious infection that could kill this man and everyone he exposed. Although the infection risk may not have been up to your sensationalism standards, it was real. If you think we as a society need to "get over" being knowingly exposed to deadly communicable diseases that could easily be prevented, I think you should move...far away.