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Officials Confirm Miami Cholera Case

MIAMI (CBS4) -- South Florida health officials have confirmed that a passenger suspected of suffering from cholera was sick with the potentially fatal disease when they landed at Miami International Airport last month.

Although cholera can kill, it can not be easily spread from person to person in normal circumstances, they said.

Cholera has killed some 2,000 people and put 30,000 others in hospitals in Haiti.

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) confirms that a man fell ill with cholera-like symptoms Thanksgiving Day while on an American Airlines flight from Santo Domingo to Miami International Airport.

The CDC said the man is a doctor who had been treating cholera patients. American Airlines said he had been to Haiti, and was returning on their flight 778 from the neighboring Dominican Republic.

The flight was met by health officials and an EMS team when it arrived at MIA at 6:06 pm Thursday.

Symptoms suggestive of cholera include nausea, diarrhea and dehydration. Once it was known they had a passenger with cholera symptoms, the airline reacted swiftly.

"We contacted our staff physicians from the cockpit and they said the plane should be met by EMS," said Tim Smith, a spokesperson for American in Dallas. "We contacted the Centers for Disease Control and were assured that cholera is not contagious under normal circumstances."

Smith said that, as a precaution, "The aircraft was taken out of service overnight and underwent a thorough sanitizing of the lavatories and passenger areas."

American Airlines said no announcement was made to passengers on the plane with the man who fell sick.


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