Fair warning: fear over Ebola in the U.S. has reached the point where if you make jokes about being infected with the deadly virus, you risk the wrath of airport and airline personnel.
Almost 4,000 people, mostly in West Africa, have already died from Ebola since March. The death toll includes the high-profile case of Thomas Duncan in the U.S. and another person in Spain. About four dozen people who were in contact with Duncan, who was from Liberia, during his visit in Texas are still being monitored for symptoms of Ebola.
The first known case of someone joking about having Ebola while in-flight happened on October 8. A man on a flight bound from Philadelphia to the Dominican Republic joked about possibly having Ebola and was summarily escorted off the plane by inspectors in hazmat suits. The man, who was not identified, had joked about just having had returned from Africa after he sneezed or coughed.
The viral disease is highly contagious and has been a frequent top news story in past weeks as the U.S. grapples with how to keep the public safe.
But before the man was escorted away, a flight attendant announced over the plane’s loudspeaker that he was an “idiot” and warned other passengers to stay out of the way of the health inspectors boarding the flight.
The flight attendant’s rant and the man with an unfortunate sense of humor are both shown in amateur cell phone video posted to YouTube. The man defiantly states that “I’m not from Africa!” while being escorted off of the plane to the boos of other passengers.