The Japan Airlines group had asked about 100 flight attendants to stay at home during the SARS epidemic this year after they served on flights that carried passengers suspected of infection, it was learned Friday.
It is the first time that details of the effects of the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic on a domestic airline were made public.
The carrier said 14 passengers flying on its planes were declared as suspect SARS cases since the outbreak of the disease in March. The disease was declared contained by the World Health Organization in June.
The Japan Airlines group said two of the 14 suspect cases were eventually diagnosed as SARS: a Filipino woman who traveled to Manila in April on a JAL flight from Toronto, and a Taiwan doctor who made a sightseeing trip to Japan in May.
Nobuko Maki, a doctor with the carrier’s health control section, said it was very difficult to prevent secondary infection inside the cabin, and stressed the need to ensure that those infected with the virus do not board.
“In the future, it is hoped that authorities in countries that have confirmed (SARS) cases thoroughly screen travelers before they board flights.”