Fear Among Flight Attendants After First Ebola Diagnosis in US

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Flight attendants across the country are on high alert and amping up safety precautions after news of the first Ebola diagnosis in the United States.

Some say they’ve been thinking about the deadly disease and how to keep themselves safe when they board flights.

“It’s on my mind, a lot more than the regular person who works on the ground, I’m sure,” flight attendant Heather Poole told ABC News Wednesday. “Even though I know the chances of somebody being sick with Ebola on one of my flights are slim to none. But I bet nobody on that United flight was thinking about Ebola either. And there it was.”

The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, Thomas Eric Duncan, is believed to have flown on United flights from Brussels, Belgium, to Washington Dulles, and then from Washington Dulles to Dallas-Fort Worth, according to a United Airlines spokeswoman.

“When was the last time somebody threw up on you? Happens all the time where I work,” Poole noted, referring to the frequency of air sickness. “On my last flight from Las Vegas to New York a passenger threw up all over himself, his seat, his shoes, and guess who had to clean it up? Me.”

Jeffrey Tonjes, who works for United Airlines, said he’s also on the lookout for ill passengers.

“It’s all over the news — how couldn’t you talk about it?” he said.

“Especially due to the fact that Ebola came over on our planes,” Tonjes added.

“We’re washing our hands more and being aware of passengers,” he said.

But Ebola isn’t all that flight attendants have to worry about — enterovirus 68 is also going around, sickening school-aged children and linked to at least one death in Rhode Island.

Corey Caldwell, a spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants, said people who work on airplanes are used to being aware of contagious diseases.

“This isn’t the first time that we have seen a pandemic outbreak like this,” Caldwell said. “Several years ago there was SARS. We had the H1N1 virus. So flight attendants are used to periods of heightened awareness for health reasons.”

The AFA encourages flight attendants to follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends flight attendants wash their hands frequently, avoid touching their face and cover wounds with bandages.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio