CHICAGO(WXIA) -- Passengers on board a Delta Connection plane at Chicago's Midway Airport were allowed todebark after being held on board the plane on the tarmac for about two hours Thursday afternoon.
Chicago Department of Aviation spokesperson Karen Pride said crews were called to treat a passenger with an unspecified medical issue.
According to Chicago NBC sister station WMAQ, the sick passenger was removed from the aircraft and the all-clear given for everyone else to exit the plane. They said the passenger in question had suffered from what they said were bug bites, not any sort of comunicable disease.
The flight, Delta Connection flight 3163, arrived from Detroit at about 3:30 p.m., Central Time.
News helicopters showed the aircraft on the ground parked at Midway's gate A7, and the aircraft was surrounded by medical and emergency personnel.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control said in a statement Thursday evening:
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.
The Detroit Free Pressquoted a man from Beverly Hills, Tom Smith, who said his wife Miriam was on the flight.
"They think someone is carrying a disease ... who came from Atlanta and boarded the flight in Detroit," said Smith, who talked with his wife on her cell phone. "The CDC came onboard with their suits on, looking like they were space men."
Other passengers took to social media, tweeting photos and posting accounts of what they were seeing was happening on the flight and near the plane on the tarmac.