“I’ve got Ebola” joke causes panic

Thomas Eric Duncan died of the Ebola virus in Texas

NEW YORK (CNN) – A joke about Ebola on a plane caused hours of delays for some U.S. Airways passengers.

“I think the man who said this is an idiot and I’ll say that straight out.” A dramatic scene on a us airways flight to the Dominican republic Wednesday. Four emergency workers in blue protective suits, board the plane responding to a disruptive passenger.

Witnesses say the man was coughing on the flight and reportedly said quote “I have Ebola, you’re all screwed.” The man appears to say it was just a joke, but he was escorted off the flight.  Infuriated passengers were stuck on the tarmac for more than two hours.

“I believe that a court, particularly in today’s environment isn’t going to find it a particularly funny comment.  No more so than the person onboard the aircraft who says I have a bomb, just kidding,” said Attorney Mark Dumbroff.

Its one of many in-flight scares since Thomas Eric Duncan landed in the United States and was diagnosed with Ebola.  On Friday a plane in Las Vegas was quarantined after a passenger got sick on board.

Saturday CDC quarantine officers surrounded a sick passenger at Newark airport and a woman on an American eagle flight in midland Texas was checked after vomiting.  None tested positive for the virus.

Friday in Dallas, where Duncan died from Ebola, a congressional panel examined the nation’s response.

“It would seem to me that much of what we are worried about right now could have been eliminated because of protocols in place,” said Eddie Bernice Johnson.

CNN has learned Duncan’s temperature was 103 degrees when the hospital released him.

Temperature screening for passengers arriving in the U.S. begins Saturday at New York’s JFK airport and expands to Chicago, Atlanta, Washington Dulles and Newark next week, but two members of congress say more airports must be included.

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