Hazmat Crews Respond After Metro Bus Passenger Yells 'I Have Ebola!'
A Metro bus passenger who shouted on Monday that he has Ebola prompted police and hazmat crews to arrive on the scene and quarantine the bus driver.
Authorities believe the Ebola claim was a hoax; however, they are still searching for the man who made the claim and plan on charging him with making a terrorist threat, according to CBS Los Angeles.
The man, who was wearing a surgical mask, got on the bus with a woman around 1:45 p.m. at Hoover Street and Venice Boulevard in the Pico-Union area. After they sat for a few minutes, he took off the mask, threw it on the bus floor and yelled, "Don't mess with me! I have Ebola!" Then they got off the bus at Venice Boulevard and Western Avenue, and essentially freaked out everyone on the bus.
Some passengers got off the bus, and the driver told bus officials about what had happened, the L.A. Times reported. He drove the bus to a bus yard in Lincoln Heights where it was cleaned as a precautionary measure. The driver was quarantined and examined by paramedics and then taken to a hospital. He was released after he didn't have any signs of being ill and officials determined he was in good health.
Metro officials are reviewing the surveillance tape recording on the bus in their search to identify the man, according to KABC. Authorities are inspecting the surgical mask as well.
"This is a very serious thing, and the idea that he could say something that he maybe thinks is funny that causes fear in a lot of people, well that falls under the category of terrorism," said Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales.
This isn't the first time there's been an Ebola scare caused by a possible hoax. Last week, a passenger on a US Airways flight from Philadelphia to the Dominican Republic reportedly joked that he had Ebola after he sneezed on the plane. A full hazmat crew arrived on the scene, investigated and found that there was no threat.
The deadly virus has claimed a life in Dallas, Texas and more than 4,000 others, mostly in West Africa. On Sunday, Texas health officials said that the health care worker who treated the Dallas man tested positive for the disease.