Passengers on a flight from Detroit were held aboard a plane at Chicago’s Midway Airport for more than two hours after a female passenger was suspected of having monkeypox, officials said Thursday.
The woman had been travelling in Uganda, according to officials, though they didn’t say when. She boarded a flight from Detroit to Chicago and while on baord, developed a rash. A family member told flight attendants that they suspected this woman had monkeypox, so the Chicago Fire Department called in the CDC, quarantined the plane for two hours, and then determined that no, the woman did not have monkeypox.
I come from a long line of hypochondriacs. My mother forbade me from travelling to Africa when I was in college, convinced I would come back with malaria, some sort of invasive roundworm, and a raging case of African trypanosomiasis. My sister got food poisoning at a dinner celebrating my graduation from vet school, which hit on the world’s longest one hour Southwest flight, which she spent cursing me for giving her Ebola. And when I started on a particularly long bout of allergy induced headaches, I put off going to the doctor for a month, convinced it was a slow growing brain tumor. This is why I avoid Dr. Google like the plague. All it does is make me paranoid.
People tend to fall into one of two categories: those who see illness in everything, and those who see it in nothing. There’s the client who brings their dog in for the skin tumor that turns out to be a nipple (true story), or the one who brings in the dog with the three pound tumor hanging off their chest that they thought was a small spider bite that would resolve on its own (also true.) We all know where this family member fits.
I bet I know exactly how this scenario played out. The woman was probably getting grief from her mother/cousin/whoever about going to Africa all along, sending her articles about yellow fever and people getting trampled by elephants and comparative analyses of the best water purifiers. She gets on a plane with said family member, who is already paranoid about her impending demise, and the second she breaks out in a minor rash from the hotel laundry detergent or whatever her loving relative sputters “I TOLD YOU SO!” and hits the call button, telling the flight attendant that this poor woman has monkeypox. Chaos ensues.
This is why I’m glad when I go back to Africa in June that it’s with total strangers and not, say, my mother (not that she would go anyway. Sleeping sickness and all of that.) A casual acquaintance would shrug at your rash and say, “Monkeypox? May want to get that checked out.” Even better, a veterinary acquaintance will give you a benadryl and laugh.
So which end of the spectrum do you fall into? And do you know anyone who’s gotten monkeypox recently?