Following a quarantine at JFK Airport in the US state of New York on Wednesday that found around 100 passengers complaining that they felt ill, two flights into Philadelphia International Airport in the state of Pennsylvania sparked an investigation by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Thursday afternoon after passengers reported experiencing flu-like symptoms.
NBC Philadelphia reports that two American Airlines flights, one arriving from Paris and the other from Munich, were collectively carrying 12 passengers who experienced the symptoms. Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were brought in to evaluate the crews and passengers. According to CBS Philly, 250 people were medically evaluated and most are in the process of being released. When contacted by Gizmodo for comment, a spokesperson from the CDC sent the following statement:
CDC is aware of two American Airlines flights from Paris and Germany that arrived at PHL airport this afternoon with ill passengers on board. CDC and Philadelphia public health officers worked with EMS and CBP officials to evaluate and test the ill passengers for influenza and other respiratory illnesses. 12 passengers from the two flights reported sore throat and cough; none were identified with fever. None of the passengers are severely ill, and they will be released and informed of test results in 24 hours.
Passengers from the two flights who were not ill continued with their travel plans. We will have more information as test results are confirmed.
In the case of the Emirates flight that landed at JFK on Wednesday, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene determined that 10 passengers were suffering from either the flu or the common cold. Another nine passengers who reported feeling ill refused medical attention, according to a spokesperson from the NYC Mayor’s Office.
Musical legend Vanilla Ice was aboard the flight and seems to be fine.
Several passengers on the flights into Philadelphia were reportedly returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where a flu outbreak is ongoing. Over a million people visit the holy city for Hajj each year, and it can become a hotbed for flu outbreaks. [NBC 10, Reuters]