Human umbilical cord found in luggage at New Orleans airport

NEW ORLEANS — Airport officials in New Orleans found a human umbilical cord in the luggage of a passenger earlier this month, authorities said.

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According to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a Spirit Airlines passenger from New Orleans had the umbilical cord in their luggage when the plane landed at Louis Armstrong International Airport on Aug. 2.

The passenger was referred to a secondary inspection and that is when the cord was found, KLFY-TV reported.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Houston were contacted and stated that the umbilical cord and a medical wristband that was commingled with it could be abandoned or detained.

According to the news release from the CBP, the passenger claimed the umbilical cord belonged to a relative and chose to abandon the items, which were then incinerated.

It was the second time in two months that airport officials discovered an umbilical cord.

On June 28, another passenger from Honduras was found with a bag that contained “paperwork, a positive pregnancy test, and an unknown tissue sample” that turned out to be an umbilical cord, KLFY reported.

“With the vast number of daily travelers, our officers are guaranteed to encounter some unusual items,” Mark Choina, acting area port director of New Orleans, said in a statement. “However, two umbilical cords, a month apart, coming from the same country is noteworthy. This seizure highlights the importance of knowing what is in your bag, and if you can legally import it, especially if you are transporting it for someone else.”

The CDC requires a permit or certification for certain biological materials imported into the U.S.

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