SIA Flight Prompts Bird Flu Alert In Copenhagen

Certain airline routes attract more attention than others among airport authorities these days, as the fear of a bird flu pandemic remains high. And there is thus increased suspicion facing flights from parts of Asia where the virus has infected the most people.
On Thursday morning at Copenhagen Airport the so-called epidemic squad was called into action after the captain of an incoming Singapore Airlines flight announced his suspicions that a woman onboard might be sick with the bird flu virus.
The plane landed safely as planned at 7.42am, after which the aircraft was ordered to taxi out to an isolated corner of the airport area where the 275 passengers and the 20 or so crew members had to wait for further instructions. They were then escorted out of the aircraft and placed in a special room at the airport, while the sick passenger – a 31 year-old Swedish woman – remained in the plane.
 A team of doctors were then sent in to examine her and soon after they were able to ease everyone’s fears by announcing that the woman was merely suffering from a stomach infection, picked up during her travels. She was later examined at a hospital in Copenhagen, where she is now said to be in good hands.

It Can Happen Again

According to experts on epidemic control, a similar incident may very likely occur again in the future.
“This is how the authorities are supposed to react when they have a suspicion that the virus is on its way into the country via a contaminated human being,” Professor Niels Hojby from Klinisk Mikrobiologisk Afdeling (Clinical Micro-biological Department) at Rigshospitalet (Copenhagen State Hospital) told Danish channel TV2 later.
Singapore Airlines are also expecting similar events to take place again in the future. The airline advises that their pilots have been trained to react just as the pilot did this time, due to the current high risk of a global bird flu outbreak among humans.
“In those situations our pilots can get in contact with experts on the ground so that they will not have to make medical diagnoses that they are not qualified to make,” an airline representative told Danish newspaper Politiken.

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