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Contagion? Mystery illness quarantines Emirates flight

September 7, 2018 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email


Mystery surrounds the type of illness that led as many as 100 passengers and crew to feel ill and start coughing on an Emirates A380 flight from Dubai to New York, requiring health workers in surgical masks to meet the plane for evaluation on the tarmac of JFK International Airport.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said about 100 people complained of feeling sick on flight EK 203. Symptoms were said to include cough and fever. A passenger aboard the Emirates A380 said people developed a “very deep, intense cough” and some were violently sick.

Texan rapper, actor, and television host Vanilla Ice was on the flight. He  tweeted: “So I just landed from Dubai and now there is like tons of ambulances and fire trucks and police all over the place.”


Authorities believe influenza is the most likely cause, according to reports last night. Flu can take many forms but questions remain.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued the following statement:

At 9:12 a.m. today, Emirates Flight 203 from Dubai landed at JFK Airport with a report of multiple sick passengers. The plane was taken to a location away from the terminal so that medical personnel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could board the aircraft to evaluate the situation and provide immediate assistance before passengers deplane and are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. The PAPD and Port Authority airport operations staff are coordinating closely and providing support to the CDC and CBP as necessary. The CDC will provide further updates as they become available.

“Given the symptoms that we are seeing in the patients and given the history that they present, it looks like this is probably influenza,” acting New York City Health Commissioner, Oxiris Barbot, declared.

“But again, until we have our final results late tonight we won’t be able to give a final determination on what the underlying cause is of this illness.”

Health authorities can be expected to investigate how so many people aboard could be stricken with flu simultaneously. The typical incubation period for influenza is between one and four days, with the average being two days. The flight from Dubai to JFK takes slightly less than 14 hours.

Some sick passengers were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Centre with non-life-threatening conditions, a New York City Fire Department spokesman said.

One person aboard described the flight as “like a flying infirmary”.

Passengers on the plane aired their views on Twitter.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Tall Whitemail says:

    Must’ve flown through a chemtrail.

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