Singapore Airlines Caused False Bird Flu Alert in Copenhagen Airport
</TD><TD> </TD></TR><TR><TD> </TD><TD colSpan=3>A commercial plane from Singapore was isolated this morning at Copenhagen Airport, when authorities feared that a passenger onboard was infected with the dreaded Bird Flu. However, the real diagnosis turned out to be far less dramatic.</TD><TD> </TD></TR><TR><TD> </TD><TD colSpan=3> </TD><TD> </TD></TR><TR><TD> </TD><TD colSpan=3>By Theis Broegger</TD><TD> </TD></TR><TR><TD> </TD><TD colSpan=3> </TD><TD> </TD></TR><TR><TD> </TD><TD colSpan=3>Certain airline routes demand more attention than others among airport authorities these days, as the fear of Bird Flu has increased the natural suspicion against flights from the parts of Asia, where the virus has infected the most people. So too Thursday morning in Copenhagen Airport, when the so-called epidemic squad was called into action after the captain of an incoming Singapore Airlines flight announced his suspicion that a woman onboard was sick from 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 approximately 20 crew members had to wait for further instructions. They were soon escorted out of the aircraft and then 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, but soon after they could ease everyone’s fears by announcing that the woman was merely suffering from a stomach infection, which she had picked up during her travels in Thailand. 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 Bird Flu virus is on its way into the country via a contaminated human being. It is quite reasonable,” Professor Niels Hojby from Klinisk Mikrobiologisk Afdeling (Clinical Micro-biological Department) at Rigshospitalet (Copenhagen State Hospital) told Danish channel TV2 later on Thursday.
Singapore Airlines are also expecting similar events to take place again in the future. The airline informs that the pilotes have been trained to react just as the pilote did this morning due to the current high risk of a global Bird Flu outbreak among humans.
“In those situations our pilotes 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 tells Danish newspaper Politiken.
With these predictions of more similar events in mind, travellers may do well to watch what they eat before boarding a Europe-bound flight in the near future.