Emirates passengers test positive for flu after JFK airport drama

Health tests carried out on passengers and crew members who fell ill on Emirates flight EK203 from Dubai to New York have tested positive for the flu
Emirates passengers test positive for flu after JFK airport drama
By Sam Bridge
Thu 06 Sep 2018 06:24 PM

Health tests carried out on passengers and crew members who fell ill on Emirates flight EK203 from Dubai to New York have tested positive for the flu and other common viruses including the common cold, it was reported on Thursday.

Tests for other viruses were inconclusive and will be readministered, according to US media reports which cited 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 was quoted as saying in a statement.

"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."

USA Today quoted Eric Phillips, spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, as saying that the passengers and crew members will remain in hospital as a precaution until the results are in from the additional tests.

Three passengers and seven crew members fell ill aboard the Emirates flight on Wednesday and were taken to local hospitals for further medical care and evaluation.

The incident began when passengers and crew members among the 521 people on board reported fevers and coughing, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, upon landing at 9:12am local time the plane was taken away from the terminal so that medical personnel “could board the aircraft to evaluate the situation and provide immediate assistance.”

Although the CDC initially estimated 100 people were sick, a spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio later tweeted that a total of 19 people were reported ill, of which 10 were hospitalised.

A number of passengers on-board the aircraft posted updates in social media as it sat on the tarmac at John F Kennedy International Airport, among them American rapper and television host Vanilla Ice.

The return flight to Dubai, EK204, was delayed by more than five hours.

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Last Updated: Thu 06 Sep 2018 08:24 PM GST

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