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Woman fearful after sick man bleeds on city bus

An Action bus.

An Action bus. Photo: Graham Tidy

A young Canberra woman is facing an anxious wait for test results after an incident in which a man with a head wound and a contagious blood-borne virus may have bled near where she sat down on a suburban bus.

ACTION management has defended its handling of the incident and said it appeared no blood came into contact with the seat the 17-year-old sat on during her journey home from school.

Andrea McEachern said her daughter - who did not wish to be named - was catching a No. 27 bus to their home in Rivett last Tuesday when the driver stopped the vehicle and announced that there would be a short delay.

''Next thing a little ACTION bus turns up and a couple of guys with rubber gloves jump out and in a sort of panicky voice yell at her, 'Get off the bus, it's contagious','' Ms McEachern said. ''No one looked at her hands to see if she had any open wounds, no one told her to disinfect her hands when she got home, no one told her what it was. They put her in a little ACTION bus and took her home.''

Ms McEachern said she telephoned ACTION several times over the next two days in an attempt to find out what had happened before a customer service staff member told her that a passenger had been bleeding on the bus.

The man got off the bus at the Woden interchange and told staff that he had a head injury and a blood-borne virus and may have spilt blood on the bus.

Ms McEachern's daughter appeared to have sat in the same seat as the man after he left the bus.

''They said, 'We watched a video: although your daughter sat in the seat he sat on, she hasn't touched anything he's bled on.' ''

After Fairfax Media approached the ACT government about the incident, Ms McEachern was contacted by a doctor from the ACT Health Directorate who she said had agreed the daughter should undergo blood tests.

ACTION director James Roncon said no blood had been found on the bus and he was confident that correct procedures had been followed by staff.

''If blood had been visible we would have contacted the Health Department,'' Mr Roncon said.

''As it was, all the passengers were asked, 'Do you have blood on you? Have you come into contact with it?'

''Everybody said, 'No we haven't.'

''I think all their details were collected.''

Mr Roncon said the closed circuit television footage appeared to confirm that the young woman had not come into contact with any potentially contaminated surfaces.

He said that procedures were in place to protect passengers and clean buses if bodily fluids were spilt.


  • This young lady is more likely to pick up a cold or flu from the bus than a 'contagious' blood borne illness. The article doesn't say what the contagion was...if it was hepatitis or HIV or Aids, then you have to come into contact with it and it has to go into your body. It's not like this man would have ebola...

    Yes it's concerning, but is she really at risk? really?

    Date and time
    February 20, 2013, 7:54AM
    • Sensitivity,compassion and understanding and a respect for what can be is needed here and it looks like its being delivered....probability maybe low but steps need to be taken.

      in your position
      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 7:20PM
  • And this is why I stay away from public transport.

    Date and time
    February 20, 2013, 9:23AM
    • I hope Mrs Mceachern comes back here in 6 months when her daughter has the all clear and tells us that too.

      You have more chance of picking up "something" from any public door handle. And any of the sinister blood borne diseases can't generally survive outside the body for any length of time. If your daughter has a healthy immmune system she will be fine.

      don't panic. don't paaaaniiiiic!
      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 9:24AM
      • Enticing families on public transport

        Date and time
        February 20, 2013, 9:44AM
        • What a load a rubbish. Sounds like people need to be educated on how blood borne diseases are transmitted.

          Date and time
          February 20, 2013, 10:02AM
          • How does someone with a visible head wound, that is presumably bleeding, even make it onto the bus? Does the bus driver think of saying 'hey mate, maybe call an ambo or a friend to take you to hospital?'

            But then, I don't expect squat from bus drivers after I saw one simply ignore a frail old lady with a walking frame trying to enter an old rick-shaw in Ainslie about 2 months ago. The woman was 2 steps away from him and he just sat there. Thank heavens the apathy of said bus driver hadn't infected the rest of humanity who was on that bus that day.

            Date and time
            February 20, 2013, 10:07AM
            • what a load of rubbish, stay off the buses indeed. this lass has a zer% cahnce of picking anything up at all. No contact, no broken skin even if she did her chances would be less than minimal. Educate yourselves before you speak

              the ghost of christmas past
              Date and time
              February 20, 2013, 10:21AM
              • i was travelling on a bus in Laos that had chickens on it, suddenly it stopped and some guys in uniforms dragged some guy off, it was during the bird flu fracas, .... maybe he was infected. They were also driving some kind of emergency vehicle but didn't have gloves.

                Gold Coast
                Date and time
                February 20, 2013, 10:40AM
                • While there is little chance of her catching something, and its doubtful this man is running around Canberra with the Ebola Virus. I still don't understand why the bus left Woden and continued to pick up passengers if they new about this - clearly they did as a wan up team stopped the bus later.

                  Regardless of the low probability this girl has caught something, at 17 she must be terrified. Waiting for the results, will be traumatic for, She's 17!

                  Date and time
                  February 20, 2013, 10:45AM

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