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Contagious-Illness Scare at LAX was False Alarm

LOS ANGELES — More than 300 passengers arriving from Japan on Sunday were held on board the jumbo jet at Los Angeles International Airport for a short time while paramedics determined that a passenger did not have a contagious illness.

United Airlines Flight 890 informed ground crews shortly before touching down at 8:30 a.m. that a 28-year-old man aboard the aircraft was sick and might have some sort of virus, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Cecil Manresa.

Los Angeles city paramedics and personnel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded the Boeing 747 after it landed. It took about 20 minutes to determine that the passenger was not contagious, Manresa said.

“He had some kind of stomach ailment or food poisoning issue, and it was not a virus [or] an infectious disease,” he said.

Manresa said city paramedics, not the CDC, generally respond when airline passengers are ill. The man may have told the airplane’s crew something that made them think his condition was more dangerous, he said.