A large number of passengers and crew had complained of coughing, fever and symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.
Nineteen people on board an Emirates A380 flying from Dubai to New York were taken ill, ten of whom were taken to hospital, after the plane was temporarily quarantined at JFK.
The pilot had radioed ahead before landing that some passengers were coughing and experiencing high temperatures.
Ambulances and emergency vehicles surrounded the plane on the runway and health officials dressed in protective gear checked each of the 538 passengers and crew, the BBC reports, taking their temperatures.
Initially, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as many as 100 people on Flight 203 including some of the crew had complained of illness including coughing, fever and symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.
In a statement afterwards, however, Emirates said that “about 10 passengers on #EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill” and that “all others will disembark shortly”. The remaining nine refused medical attention.
‘Flu’ from Mecca
After being released, all of the passengers and crew were told to “call their provider and health department if they develop any symptoms”.
A spokesman for New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said that some of the passengers were returning from the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where there is a flu outbreak, and that the passengers’ symptoms were “pointing to the flu”.
One business class traveller told CBS News that the sick passengers had been seated in economy.