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Sarah Gorvin, Forum Communications Co., Published April 26 2012

Minnesota woman prompts Delta flight quarantine

RED WING, Minn. – A phone call asking for medical advice for a Red Wing woman returning from Uganda resulted in a two-hour quarantine for a Delta flight Thursday afternoon.

Lise Sievers was returning from Africa and had connecting flights in Amsterdam and Detroit before officials quarantined her plane on the runway at Chicago’s Midway Airport.

Roger Sievers, also of Red Wing, said he had talked to his mother at about 6 p.m. Thursday and that passengers were just beginning to be let off the plane. ABC News reported that there were 43 passengers and three crew members on the plane.

When Lise Sievers boarded her plane in Uganda on Wednesday to begin her long flight home, she had a small red bumps over much of her body, but “didn’t think much of it,” her son said.

She believed it was from bedbugs.

He learned later Thursday evening that his grandmother, who was meeting the plane, was worried about the skin condition and contacted health officials looking for advice on what to do when her daughter arrived. Those providers in turn contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC instituted the quarantine. Officials were concerned she could have contracted a communicable disease while overseas.

Lise Sievers told her son that officials coming onto the plane wore face masks.

“The Centers for Disease Control came in, took photos of her, sent them off,” Roger Sievers said. “Then they came back and said that it appears to be just bug bites.”

Sievers said that his mother went to a hospital in Chicago just to double-check the CDC’s diagnosis.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, Sievers said his mother was in good spirits.

“She’s trying to make light of it,” he said.

Lise Sievers had been Uganda since late January working to adopt two special needs children. She was returning to Red Wing to attend another son’s high school graduation here.

She will go back in May to Africa to bring home the Ugandan children, who will join nine other adopted children at home.

Lise Sievers’ blog about her trip to Uganda can be found at africanadventures.areavoices.com.

Roger Sievers works for Rivertown Newspaper Group, a division of Forum Communications Co.

Sarah Gorvin is a reporter for the Red Wing Republican-Eagle.

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