Dubai: The passengers who took ill on the Emirates airline flight that landed at Kennedy International Airport in New York on Wednesday were most likely suffering from flu and common cold, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday.

Benjamin Haynes, the agency spokesman, said 11 people were taken to the hospital and tests showed the patients had influenza or other common respiratory viruses. The patients were treated at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens.

“One patient was admitted to the hospital while the rest were discharged,” a hospital statement sent to Gulf News read.

Local authorities alerted the CDC on September 5 about Emirates flight EK203 from Dubai, after numerous passengers complained of coughing, fever and symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.

“It was clear people were sick before they even got on the plane, so much so that I asked the stewardess for a mask,” said Erin Sykes, a passenger from New York. “People were coughing the whole flight, like phlegmy, really gross cough.”

Emirates confirmed all 549 passengers and crew members were screened by local health authorities before disembarkation, as a precaution. Some 19 people were reportedly sick.

In the end, 11 were taken to hospital, contrary to the earlier CDC statement that said 100 people on board were ill.

— With inputs from agencies