Fire and ambulance crews met the plane on the runway after it landed at 3:45 p.m. due to reports of a medical emergency. The Chicago Health Department responded and inspected the passenger, finding that she had an extensive rash -- but it was not consistent with an infectious disease. The woman had apparently been traveling in Uganda.
Late Thursday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the following statement:
"CDC received a report earlier this evening of a passenger on a plane at Midway Airport who had a rash. Since the passenger had been in Africa, a family member had reported concerns that the rash might be monkeypox. The passenger was evaluated by Chicago Emergency Medical Services. Medical staff at CDC and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) reviewed the case and, 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 ill passenger was advised to seek medical care and the rest of the passengers were released from the plane. CDC and CDPH believe there is very little risk to other passengers. However, out of an abundance of caution, the airline will be collecting contact information for other passengers should CDC need to contact them in the future."
"It was terrifying," said one passenger. "They didn't tell us very much at all. They are very vague. It kind of goes through your mind, the contagion movie comes into your mind. We're on a teeny tiny plane and we're held for medical purposes. It's very scary. When they come on in masks and gloves, you think the worst."
"No one was sure what was going on. They were pretty vague. We thought bed bugs were very far-fetched... wouldn't quarantined for that," said another passenger.
The plane was cleared just before 6 p.m. Forty-three passengers were on the flight with three crewmembers.
The Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed it was working with the Center for Disease Control to figure out the situation.