Debate Over Sick Patients Flying: What the Law Says About It

the MPR take:

Are patients required to alert airlines if they may have a communicable disease? Liberian officials plan to prosecute Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who stated on a questionnaire in Monrovia prior to boarding a plane to Dallas, TX that he had not cared for or been in contact with anyone who subsequently died from Ebola; he is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. Travel law expert Jeffrey Ment states that there is no requirement in the United States for passengers to inform airline authorities if they have a potentially communicable disease or respond to questions on the matter if asked. Airlines, however, must deny boarding of anyone they believe are sick and would pose a danger to others on the flight. In contrast, the cruise industry mandates that passengers submit a health screening prior to boarding to prevent norovirus outbreaks. A “Do Not Board” list is maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security specifying individuals that have been identified by public health agencies worldwide to have communicable diseases to ban them from boarding planes, but it was only implemented in 2007 after a man flew home to the U.S. from Italy with a diagnosis of a highly contagious form of tuberculosis.

Debate over Sick Patients Flying: What the Law Says about It
Debate Over Sick Patients Flying: What the Law Says About It

If airline passengers are worried they might be sick with a communicable disease, would U.S. Liberian officials accuse him of lying on a questionnaire he filled out in Monrovia before boarding an airplane on his journey to Dallas. They say it asked whether he had cared for any Ebola patients or ...