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Passenger on flight from Las Vegas flagged for flulike symptoms

A passenger with flulike symptoms on a flight that departed Las Vegas on Saturday morning did not meet criteria for coronavirus testing, officials said.

The passenger was on a Southwest Airlines flight that left McCarran International Airport for Baltimore, Maryland, at 6:05 a.m. Saturday, according to a statement from the airline and the Las Vegas airport’s website.

According to a statement from the Maryland Health Department, the passenger had recently traveled from Beijing.

Medical personnel met the flight when it arrived at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport after reports of an ill customer, the airline said in an emailed statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and in light of the recent concerns of the coronavirus, our crew followed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control,” the airline said.

The Maryland Health Department said the passenger did not meet criteria from the CDC for “2019 novel coronavirus testing,” but the person was referred to a medical facility for evaluation.

“Per guidance from the CDC, no special action was indicated for this person or for any other passengers or crew on the flight,” the department said.

McCarran spokeswoman Erika Hanuscin said Saturday afternoon that the airport had no information regarding the passenger. She said the airport is not screening for the virus at the airport.

The CDC will determine if screening at the airport will be done in the future, she said.

The coronavirus is a new respiratory virus that has killed dozens and sickened at least 1,000 in China. The city of Wuhan is considered the disease’s epicenter.

As of Friday, two coronavirus cases in the U.S. had been confirmed — one in Chicago reported Friday and another near Seattle earlier this week. Both cases involved people who had recently traveled to Wuhan, a major transportation hub with a population of 11 million.

Federal health authorities have directed five of the country’s largest airports to screen arriving passengers for infection in an effort to stop the outbreak’s spread.

An airport spokesman said Wednesday that there are no direct flights to Las Vegas from Wuhan.

The airport has placed flyers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at security checkpoints alerting people to the potential risk of contracting the illness in China, airport spokesman Joe Rajchel has said.

Martha Framsted, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, said in email earlier this week, “As with any respiratory viral illness, it is recommended to practice good health hygiene habits by covering your cough, perform frequent handwashing, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and stay home while you are ill.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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