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Story of in-flight ‘Aussie flu’ collapse heightens fear

January 19, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Britain’s media is already full of tales of the so-called “Aussie flu” sweeping the northern hemisphere – and now a man has fainted and collapsed with the illness during a flight, almost causing the flight to divert.

Flu viruses circulate all year and are constantly mutating. Experts say air travel is a new factor helping spread them around the globe.

This week, a man flying from Scotland to London found his vision blurring before he broke out in a profuse sweat, keeled over and lost consciousness, Britain’s Daily Mail reported.

“My vision was starting to go all blurry. I called a flight attendant, who said I didn’t look [well] and she gave me water,” Anthony Joseph said.

Joseph said the attendant asked him to come to the front of the plane “and it was then that I fainted”.

Headlines proclaim Aussie flu

The verdict: Aussie flu.

A variant of the H3N2 subtype of the influenza A virus, Aussie flu has been given that name because it was the same type observed during the Australian winter, when more than 170,000 people caught it.

Lurid stories and headlines in the UK have led Britons to be wary of visitors who have recently arrived from Australia.

In the recent in-flight case, Joseph said that when he regained consciousness, he heard cabin crew discussing whether the flight should make an emergency landing in Leeds, about halfway between takeoff and scheduled landing point.

In the end, flight crew decided against that and the flight pushed on to London.

Joseph said he had already started to feeling sick at his family’s house in Scotland, was “sweating buckets” and had delayed an earlier flight until his fever abated.

When his fever subsided, though still racked by coughing, he decided to fly. The story says that when Joseph finally arrived in London, his symptoms got worse – sweating profusely and coughing up blood. He finished up in hospital where he was told he had caught the dreaded Aussie flu.

Written by Peter Needham

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