More than a dozen on New York flight were ill: officials
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More than a dozen on New York flight were ill: officials

Ten people aboard an Emirates flight from Dubai to New York were taken to hospital with a mystery ailment after up to 100 passengers and crew complained of feeling sick during the 14-hour overnight flight from the Middle East.

The nature of the illness was not immediately confirmed, but the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Wednesday, local time, that symptoms included fever and coughing.

The airliner, with at least 521 passengers, landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport about 9am local time and was immediately surrounded by dozens of ambulances and other emergency vehicles as anxious passengers waited to be evaluated by health officials.

Medical workers in masks and gloves took passengers' temperatures on the tarmac while evaluating them.

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Eventually, the airline and the New York mayor's office said a total of 19 people were confirmed ill. Three passengers and seven crew members went to hospital, Dubai-based Emirates said.

A person walks off the Emirates plane at JFK International Airport.

A person walks off the Emirates plane at JFK International Airport.Credit:AP

"Nine passengers underwent additional medical screening at the site near the aircraft and were released afterwards," an Emirates spokeswoman said. "The rest of the passengers were allowed to leave and clear customs."

The CDC said in its statement that as many as 100 passengers and crew members reported feeling sick during the flight from Dubai.

There was no immediate explanation by the CDC for the discrepancy between the number of people initially reported as feeling sick and the much-smaller number of confirmed cases.

The plane - a double-deck Airbus 380 - was taken to a location away from the terminal so emergency officials could evaluate the situation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials said in a statement. The A380 is the world's largest passenger aircraft.

The White House was monitoring the situation, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, and President Donald Trump was being updated as new information became available.

Diala Makki was travelling first-class on Flight 203 en route to New York Fashion Week when she learned from flight crew that a number of people had become sick onboard and passengers were to be detained until officials made checks.

"The Emirates cabin crew were super helpful, they were not in panic mode, which was amazing," Makki, a 36-year-old television host from Dubai, said outside the airport.

"Then we got the American officials check every one of us until we got out. They dealt with it really well."

Another passenger, Erin Sykes from New York, said: "People were coughing the whole flight, like phlegmy, really gross coughs, not covering their mouths. They were spitting places."

AAP, Reuters