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Concerns about Ebola cause flyers to avoid bathrooms and use anti-bacterial wipes on flights

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Travelers at Richmond International Airport are avoiding the restrooms on their flights and using antibacterial wipes to try to protect themselves from contracting Ebola.

“I used them on the back of my seat, the armrest, the front of the seat and then the tray table,” Sherri Aldrich, who traveled from Texas to Richmond, said.

“Our mom is very worried about us.  She wants us to stop by the store, and bye some wipes and wipe everything down,” Ariel Kukendall, who traveled to Boston on Friday with her brother, said.

Several passengers at the airport on Friday flew from one of five major airports that have enhanced screenings for Ebola: Atlanta, O’Hare in Chicago, JFK in New York, Newark in New Jersey, and Dulles in Washington.

Those airports receive 95 percent of the passengers who travel from the West African countries hardest hit by the virus, and every day, 32 flights from those airports fly into RIC.

“You just pray and hope you don’t come across nobody that got it,” Terrance Green, who flew into RIC Friday, said.

Commercial Airline Captain Richard Catalano said he has confidence in the screenings, but, for the first time, he received an email from his boss Friday outlining what to do if a passenger shows symptoms of Ebola.

“We’d contact a physician on call. We’ll give them as many details as we can, and with their recommendation we’d figure out if we need to divert immediately and get on the ground,” Catalano said.

Still, if a passenger has a high fever, is vomiting, and recently visited West Africa, there is not exactly a lot of space to quarantine them.

“We would do the best that we could, but it is a small enclosed space,” Catalano said.

Catalano said the likelihood of that ever happening is incredibly small, but travelers in Richmond remain wary.

“We just need to get a handle on it. It’s starting to pop up here and there and people are showing up with it,” Marty Sepulveda, who flew into Richmond Friday, said.

5 comments

  • pls

    SERIOUSLY?!?!? IT IS NOT THAT CONTAGIOUS!!! There have been a maximum of 3 confirmed cases in the United States TOTAL! The media is completely manipulating the public and making us terrified for no reason. Dear WTVR – please report on more important news like the mass incarceration going on in the city, or the massive rate of heart disease occurring due to our failed regulatory agencies.

  • mat

    Well, the very least that will come from this fiasco Ebola situation is that more people will actually wash their hands after using the toilet…..

  • Meaghan

    People should be doing these things anyway! I carry gloves in my car just to use the pump at the gas stations. Imagine how many dirty and germy hands touch those

      • Meghan

        While I can’t walk with gloves all day, trust me, I use my pinky for doors at my job or any other place I have to walk into, and wash my hands as soon as I can. And I constantly spray lysol around my house and door handles. Im not a crazy germaphobe, but just really aware of how bacteria grows. I also work in the medical field, so I see infections first hand.

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