HomeHealthMom's monkeypox mix-up caused by bedbugs and worried grandma, son says

Mom’s monkeypox mix-up caused by bedbugs and worried grandma, son says


Midway medical emergency
A rescue officer speaks with a flight attendant after a Delta Airlines flight was quarantined on the tarmac at Chicago Midway Airport on April 26, 2012 for a medical emergency.

CBS/Kayla Maree Sanders via Twitter


(CBS/AP) Passengers aboard a Chicago-bound flight from Detroit were reportedly prevented from disembarking for three hours because one female passenger was suspected of having monkeypox.

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CBS News reported that the plane landed Thursday afternoon at Midway International Airport. The CDC says emergency medical personnel determined the woman’s rash was not related to monkeypox.

The CDC said in a statement that monkeypox was suspected because the passenger had been to Africa and a family member was concerned it had caused the rash.

“Based on the patient’s symptoms and photographs of the rash, it does not appear that the signs and symptoms are consistent with a monkeypox infection,” the CDC said in a statement. “The ill passenger was advised to seek medical attention and the rest of the passengers were released from the plane.” The agency added that there was little risk to other passengers.

What exactly is monkeypox?

According to the World Health OrganizationMonkeypox is a disease that is spread from infected monkeys to humans through direct contact with their blood, bodily fluids, or skin rashes. The potentially fatal disease is similar to smallpox, beginning with fever and pain, and then progressing to a rash of rashes on the face, palms, and feet that develop into pus-filled blisters. The onset of symptoms can vary between six and 16 days, but symptoms can last up to three weeks. Fewer than 10 percent of people with monkeypox die, according to the WHO, and most deaths occur in young children.

With the CDC calling the incident a false alarm, the passenger’s son came forward to say the confusion over the rash was due to what his mother believes to be bed bugs.

Roger Sievers of Red Wing, Minnesota, told the star tribune that her mother, Lise, was adopting two special needs children from Uganda. He says that while talking to her mother (her grandmother) on the phone during the layover in Detroit on Thursday, Lise Sievers described a rash she suspected was caused by bedbugs.

Roger said her grandmother called a hospital to ask what treatment her daughter might need for sores contracted in Africa. Health officials wearing face masks went to greet the plane as it landed.

“At some point things got mixed up,” Roger Sievers told the Star Tribune. “You call a hospital and say someone is coming on an international flight and they have [pus-filled] hits, then the CDC is called right away,” he said.

Sievers told the newspaper that he hopes the incident will focus on the international adoption of children who do not have access to sufficient medical care. He also still holds her grandmother in high regard.

“It was all misinformation from a speculative call my grandmother made,” Roger Sievers. “She’s just a worried old lady. As sweet as she can be. And she makes delicious banana bread, I can tell you right now.”

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