Flu Fears Delay Continental Flight at Newark

Passengers on a flight from Hong Kong were allowed to deplane Monday at Newark International Airport after being held for two hours because some of them reported feeling ill, airport officials said.

Continental Airlines Flight 98 had departed Hong Kong with 272 passengers. Seven passengers had flu-like symptoms and other passengers began to show the symptoms during the 15-hour flight, said Karen Hunter, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She did not have an exact number.

Emergency services personnel who were sent to the plane to interview the passengers passed on the information to a CDC Global Migration and Quarantine representative at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Hunter said.

"It was determined the symptoms were consistent with possible seasonal influenza and there was no reason to believe it was more serious," said CDC spokesman Glen Nowak.

The airline and the CDC believe the ill passengers were part of a group of more than 80 tourists who sailed together on a river cruise in Asia.

Messing said he believed most of the group would continue on to Montreal, their final destination, Monday night.

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