19 passengers were deemed “sick” on an Emirates plane that landed at New York’s JFK airport. The tarmac was littered with ambulances and health officials where the plane was briefly quarantined.
Ten passengers and crew members who got sick on Emirates Flight 203 from Dubai to New York Wednesday tested positive for the flu and other common viruses including the common cold, authorities said Thursday.
Tests for other viruses were inconclusive and will be readministered today, according to the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
“A majority of the tests showed common viruses such as influenza and the common cold,” the agency said in a statement Thursday. “Unfortunately, tests for other viruses were inconclusive. This is not unusual when testing, but it means we have to re-test some samples today and expect to have full results in the afternoon.”
Eric Phillips, spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, said via Twitter that test results on the passengers and crew members hospitalized after the incident found influenza. He said the passengers and crew members will remain in the hospital as a precaution until the results are in from the additional tests.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that the patients are being treated by the hospital, including receiving antivirals. Other passengers who develop symptoms should call their doctor. The CDC on Wednesday cleared the majority of the 549 passengers and crew members on the stricken Emirates flight after they were evaluated.
With flu season approaching, the CDC recommends people sick with flu stay home and avoid travel for at lleast 24 hours after their fever is gone. The agency also recommends the seasonal flu vaccine, preferably by the end of October.
Officials with the CDC and state, local and airport authorities met the stricken Emirates plane when it landed Wednesday morning at John F. Kennedy International Airport after a long flight. Initial reports said 100 passengers were sick. All passengers and crew members were evaluated, with seven crew members and three passengers hospitalized. (The CDC puts the number hospitalized at 11, one higher than the airline and other authorities.)
The plane was cleared by authorities and given back to Emirates in time to make the return flight from New York to Dubai on Wednesday afternoon.
Then the medical detective work began to determine the cause.
Rapper Vanilla Ice was on the upper level of the double decker Airbus A380 Wednesday and described the scene when the plane landed as chaos.
Another passenger told USA TODAY he noticed passengers coughing and showing other signs of sickness. He said the situation wasn’t alarming until the plane started its descent and the pilot told passengers there were sick passengers on board.
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