A mysterious rash dubbed the "red sweat" has afflicted some stewards and stewardesses on Eastern Airlines flights between New York and Florida.
"I was a flight attendant for 22 years and I've never seen anything like this," said Dotti Payne, health officer for the Transport Workers Union, Local 153 in Miami, which represents Eastern flight attendants. "People are walking around with marks and spots on their bodies," she said.
About 150 cases of the malady have been reported by Eastern flight attendants in recent months. All have experienced the same red pinpoint-sized marks, which resemble blisters and release a fluid that looks like blood when they break.
So far as could be learned no pilots or passengers have been affected.
Most of the reports have been filed by flight attendants flying on Eastern's A300 airbus on the airline's scheduled bread-and-butter route between New York and Florida. No other airlines have reported similar problems.
"It's still a mystery to us," said an Eastern Airlines spokesman. In addition to consulting its own medical staff, Eastern has sought help from doctors at Columbia University, aerospace experts at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and military aviation specialists.