Statement: Emirates can confirm that about 10 passengers on #EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill. On arrival, as a precaution, they were attended to by local health authorities. All others will disembark shortly. The safety & care of our customers is our first priority.
— Emirates Airline (@emirates) September 5, 2018
The plane is isolated, and CDC officials are checking passengers. It appears that some of the passengers are being released.
— CameliaEntekhabifard (@CameliaFard) September 5, 2018
An earlier report on ABC said that the number of sick passengers was 100, which now appears to be wrong. The symptoms reported are fever and coughing.
As you might expect, there are panicky tweets that try to be humorous. But, as usual for an incident that gets the public eye, early reports are likely to be inaccurate.
One speculation I’ve seen is that this may be related to food poisoning, although the reported symptoms don’t check out in my limited knowledge of such things.
What the symptoms seem to fit with is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which is serious but seems to be not easily transmitted. It’s one of the viruses the public health people keep an eye on for possible epidemics. It will probably take a day or more to figure out exactly what the illness is.
As usual, take anything you read with a grain of salt, and don’t spread rumors.