The incident occurred moments before U.S. Airways flight 845 landed on the Caribbean island.
Diario Libre, a leading Dominican newspaper, reported that the man first sneezed and shouted, “I have Ebola!”
However, what happened next was something that the prankster did not expect.
Passengers were ordered to remain in their seats and medical teams donning Hazmat suits entered the aircraft to confront the man, said to be 54 years old.
Later, he protested the examination, saying, “I ain’t from Africa. S***!”
Although the passenger’s name has not been released, Paola Rainieri, vice president of marketing and communications for Grupo Punta Cana – which owns the airport – described the comment as a “joke of poor taste” and released a statement confirming the man did not test positive for Ebola.
“We don’t know why he did it, but he thought it would be a cute joke that would not be so serious. Thankfully it was only a scare,” she said.
Walter Zemialkowski, director of operations at the airport said, “He will be returned to the United States, where he will be submitted to another rigorous check.”
The Dominican Republic’s Health Ministry also released a statement:
“It is absolutely false the information that states that through the Punta Cana Airport a person suspected of being sick with Ebola arrived in our country.”