Updated at 11:23 a.m. ET
Health and safety officials are investigating an illness that struck passengers on an Emirates Airline flight from Dubai to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning.
Emirates said that “about 10 passengers” were affected on the overnight Flight 203.
Those 10 people have now been taken off the plane for treatment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, says Eric Phillips, press secretary for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The aircraft was carrying more than 500 people. Health officials were allowing the remaining passengers to disembark only after checking each one for symptoms, Phillips said.
As for what the sickness might be, Phillips referred to a “flu outbreak” and said that might be a possibility. “The plane’s been quarantined and the CDC is on the scene,” he said.
As of just after 11 a.m., about 40 passengers had been cleared and allowed to go to the customs area, according to Phillips. A few others who showed symptoms were held for treatment and possible transport to the hospital.
The number of cases cited by the airline and Phillips is far smaller than initial media reports, which had suggested up to 100 people may have been affected and showed symptoms such as fever and coughing.
NPR’s Rob Stein reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with local authorities to investigate the unspecified illnesses aboard Flight 203 and will provide additional information when it is available.
The Airbus A380 landed around 9 a.m. ET after a 13-hour flight, according to data from Flight Radar. The plane was isolated on the tarmac at JFK, as officials took stock of the situation. Images from the scene showed a row of ambulances alongside the aircraft.