A 54-year-old American caused a full-scale alert during a flight to the Dominican Republic. YouTube/Patrick Navaez

A man has caused a full-scale alert onboard a flight from the US to the Dominican Republic after he joked about having the Ebola virus.

The man, who is reported to be a 54-year-old American, was coughing on the flight. He then jokingly shouted: "I have Ebola, you're all screwed", prompting panic among passengers and cabin crew.

When the US Airways flight landed in Punta Cana airport, staff alerted local authorities who issued a team of medics in protective suits to board the aircraft and escort the man off the plane.

The passenger, who has not been named, was heard to say, "I ain't from Africa", as he was taken off the plane.

The incident came to light after a fellow passenger filmed it and posted it to YouTube.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic have said that the man does not have Ebola, which is considered by most to be far from a joking matter, having killed more than 3,800 people across the world.

A flight attendant it also reported to have said: "I've done this for 36 years, and I think that the man who has said this is an idiot, and I'll say that straight out."