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United contacting passengers, testing crew on flights with Ebola patient

United contacting passengers, testing crew on flights with Ebola patient
Passengers wait to check in at the United terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. United said it is contacting the passengers who shared two flights with a man infected with the Ebola virus. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

United Airlines is contacting passengers who flew on two flights that carried a Liberian man infected with Ebola and is offering Ebola screening for flight attendants on those flights.

The airline that carried Thomas Eric Duncan from Brussels to Washington, D.C., and finally to Dallas on Sept. 20 said that the Centers for Disease Control and Protection believes there is "zero risk" that other passengers on the flights were infected.

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Duncan is listed in serious but stable condition in a Dallas hospital.

Still, the airline said it is calling or sending emails to the passengers on Flight 951 from Brussels to Washington, D.C., and on Flight 822 from Washington, D.C., to Dallas-Fort Worth to notify them that they shared a flight with Duncan.

The Chicago-based carrier also offered Ebola screening to the 14 flight attendants who worked on Flight 951 and Flight 822.

After the flights, the airline said the two planes that carried Duncan remained overnight for a "thorough cleaning, including cleaning of lavatories and galleys with heavy-duty all-purpose cleaners and wiping tray tables and arm rests with disinfectant."

A spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants told Bloomberg News that the flight attendants were not panicked to learn that they worked on the plane carrying Duncan, who did not show symptoms until days later.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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