Meningitis Fellow Passengers Sought

Saturday, June 24th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — A sick passenger on an El Al flight that landed at Newark International Airport has died of meningococcal meningitis, the Port Authority says.

Joseph Ferraro, of Rochester, N.Y., died Friday evening, about two hours after he arrived in Newark, N.J., on flight 17 from Tel Aviv, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Port Authority police took Ferraro, 20, to Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark — where he died — after being notified that he needed assistance, Coleman said.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms include fever, neck stiffness and headache.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta was notified of the cause of Ferraro's death, as were the state health agencies of New York and New Jersey, Coleman said.

Authorities were trying to track down others on the flight who they said may be at risk. The jet carried 416 passengers and 19 crew members.

Coleman said medical experts stressed that there was no danger to the general public, adding that meningitis is transmitted only through close contact, such as transmission of saliva.