Canada Greyhound bus passengers exposed to TB

Thu Oct 2, 2008 6:41pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario health officials are looking for 27 people who were exposed to tuberculosis during a Greyhound bus trip from Toronto to Detroit in late August.

"There is a very low chance any of them were infected, but we are trying to identify them to let them know the risk," said Mark Nesbitt, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Health.

The scare is bad news for Greyhound which has been trying to repair its image after two knife attacks during trips in Canada over the past few months, including one in which a rider was beheaded during a trip through the Prairies.

"This is an isolated and rare event," Eric Wesley, a Greyhound spokesman, said of the tuberculosis incident. "We want to reassure passengers that Greyhound is a safe way to travel."

The Ontario Health Ministry said it has been aware of the incident for "quite a while" and publicized it in the hopes of finding the 27 passengers who left the bus at a stop in Windsor, Ontario.

The bus later stopped at the U.S. border on the way to Detroit, across the river from Windsor, where guards found one of the 15 remaining passengers had been treated for tuberculosis.

"The infected passenger was flagged at the border en route to Detroit," Nesbitt said.

He said he was not aware if any of the other 14 passengers had tested positive for tuberculosis, an often deadly disease that attacks the lungs and can be transmitted through the air by coughing or sneezing.

Greyhound is owned by British rail and bus company FirstGroup Plc.