CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A flight attendant may have recently exposed passengers to hepatitis A, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC says it was notified on Oct. 1 that an “aircraft contact investigation” was needed because an attendant showed hepatitis A symptoms during flights, and the person had handled food and beverages.
"Because the flight attendant had diarrhea on several flights within the infectious period, contact investigations were done to notify passengers," wrote the CDC in a statement. "The airline is notifying other crew staffing those flights."
ABC News reports the attendant worked for American Airlines. In a statement sent to ABC, the airline said it’s in close contact with the CDC and “will coordinate with them on any required health and safety related measures.”
Officials tell WSCO that one of the exposures took place on a flight between San Francisco and Charlotte on Sept. 21. The Mecklenburg County Health Department said it notified 18 passengers about the possible exposure.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by a virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
“Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people,” wrote the CDC. “Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.”
Click here to learn more about hepatitis A.