Published on January 11, 2013

Is flu spreading through airport travelers?


Published On: Jan 11 2013 | WJXT, Channel 4


Cherie Henderson checked in at Jacksonville International Airport Friday, heading home with a crew full of sick co-workers who flew to Jacksonville from Mississippi for a meeting.

"My whole family has been sick with the flu, we've all gotten it, and at this meeting, several people were coming down with high fevers and whatnot, and so they think they might be coming down with the flu," Henderson said.

There's concern the virus could be in transit as people travel across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dozens of states are reporting widespread influenza activity.

"It's very scary," said Phyllis Skarbrevik, who's concerned about the flu. "I actually had the flu shot, and I had that stomach virus. That lasted two days and that was it for me."

Many travelers say they're doing everything they can to stay healthy. They're taking advantage of the hand sanitizer stations scattered throughout the airport, something doctors say is a good idea.

"You definitely can import flu from other cities by getting on an airplane and visa versa," said Jean-Paul Montoya, an infectious disease specialist at St. Vincent's Medical Center. "In the swine flu epidemic, there were cases of people contracting the flu on an airplane. So you just have to take precautions when you are on an airplane."

It's recommended that nearly everyone should receive a flu shot. But despite all the warning signs, some out-of-towners say they're not concerned.

"I'm feeling fine, perfectly fine," said Charles Giles, who traveled to Jacksonville from Virginia. "So if the flu is here, it's not a result of me."

The CDC believes the spread of flu may be slowing in some areas of the U.S. It still suggests Americans take precaution.


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