Travelers from Saudi Arabia quarantined at airport for second straight day
Officials said 12 passengers on two flights that landed at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday were held to be checked by medical teams after they reported being sick, the second day in a row that ill travelers flying from Saudi Arabia were temporarily quarantined at a major U.S. airport.
In Philadelphia, sick passengers were reported on American Airlines flight 755 from Paris, France and American Airlines flight 717 from Munich, Germany, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
All passengers were later released after being checked by health officials, CBP said in a statement. None were taken to hospitals.
The passengers reported sore throat, cough and none were identified with fever, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Benjamin Haynes. CDC officers, working with local responders, checked the travelers for influenza and other respiratory illnesses.
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"None of the passengers are severely ill, and they will be released and informed of test results in 24 hours," Haynes said in a statement. "Passengers from the two flights who were not ill continued with their travel plans."
Some 250 people in both planes were "held for a medical review," as a precaution, according to a statement from Philadelphia International Airport.
Officials on Wednesday quarantined more than 500 passengers and crew on Emirates Airlines 203 flight that landed at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport. At least 19 passengers from that flight were confirmed as sick, with symptoms including fever, coughs and vomiting. Tests confirmed influenza among some of those travelers.
In both the Kennedy Airport and Philadelphia cases, passengers had recently traveled to M ecca for the hajj.
"CBP exercised an abundance of caution following Wednesday's illness of crew and passengers aboard Emirates flight 203 that landed at JFK International Airport," the customs agency said in a statement.
Airport operations were not impacted, officials said.
Outbreaks of flu and respiratory illness are common among the millions who gather for hajj. A spokesman for the New York City Mayor's Office on Wednesday also cited the religious event as a possibly source of the illnesses.
Ten people from the plane at Kennedy Airport were hospitalized as a precaution with confirmed influenza, according to Eric Phillips, press secretary for New York City's mayor.
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