China Airlines stewardess possibly spreads rubella to over 1,000 passengers

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Centres for Disease Control yesterday said that a female flight attendant of China Airlines unknowingly contracted rubella, urging the CDC to try and conduct follow-ups with up to 1,558 people.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang told local news that an unnamed CAL flight attendant from Northern Taiwan developed symptoms of rubella on March 14, such as fever, a runny nose and skin rash.

The individual received a diagnosis on March 18 that confirmed rubella, and is currently confined to quarantine Chuang said.

According to the mandatory health inspection cards people filled out at immigration, Chuang said that the individual was likely infected between Feb. 21 and Feb. 28.

The case is currently ruled as a case that was contracted from abroad, with potential areas narrowed down to Vietnam, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Chuang also said that during the estimated period of the disease's communicability, the flight attendant had served on six international flights.

The first two were on a March 8 roundtrip from Taoyuan to Fukuoka, Japan on flights CI116 and CI117. The second two were between March 10 to 11, on flights CI110 and CI111 which were also a roundtrip from Taoyuan to Fukuoka.

The final two flights were on a roundtrip between March 13 and 14 on flights CI753 and CI754 on a roundtrip from Taoyuan to Singapore.

The deputy director-general said that it has been confirmed that 686 nationals and 872 foreign passengers had been in contact with the flight attendant.

Chuang said that the CDC has successfully contacted 72 out of the 686 local individuals.

As such, the CDC implores that all nationals aboard the listed flights to call the 1922 Disease Prevention Hotline or contact their local health department for observation and care.

As for the other international passengers, Chuang said, the CDC will contact the related health organisations in the 11 countries in accordance with international health regulations.