Port Authority officials reportedly checked each passenger on the plane after a medical emergency was declared on board
April 29, 2019 05:28 PM
A JetBlue plane was quarantined at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday night after a case of measles was suspected on board.
The flight, which was inbound from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was quarantined at the terminal after the Port Authority was notified that there was a medical emergency on board.
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“After reports of a potential medical concern onboard, flight 410 from Santo Domingo to JFK was requested to hold for medical services out of an abundance of caution so a customer could be examined,” a spokesperson for JetBlue told PEOPLE in a statement.
According to NBC News 4 New York, passengers on board were not aware of why the plane was being held at the terminal, but rumors were swirling that there was a suspected case of measles.
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“Some sort of medic type guy came on with a mask and a policeman, probably Port Authority, with a mask looked at the kid and decided that it was probably mosquito bites,” a passenger told the outlet.
After everyone was examined, “all customers were cleared and the flight deplaned normally,” the Jet Blue representative said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
News 4 also reports that the boy who was suspected of having measles was a member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, and had been flying for a Passover program. According to the outlet, the program director claims JetBlue wrongly profiled him as having measles because of his religious group.
There have been more than 400 cases of measles confirmed in New York City since October, the
According to Jewish news outlet, The Yeshiva World, community activists immediately contacted the boy’s family’s pediatricians and doctors and were able to provide proof that the family had been vaccinated for measles.
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News of the measles scare comes amidst the largest outbreak of the disease in the U.S. since 1994, with the Center for Disease Control reporting 704 cases of measles in 22 states so far this year. More than 400 of those cases are located in New York.
According to the
New York mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak, and threatened to impose $1,000 fines on people across Brooklyn if they refused to vaccinate their children. On Monday morning, the city shut down two schools in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn because they did not comply with the emergency orders.
Rockland County, N.Y., which has also reported cases of measles, attempted to ban unvaccinated children from all indoor public places, including schools, grocery stores, restaurants and religious areas in an attempt to stop the outbreak from spreading, but a court blocked the order, the
Afterward, they banned anyone who was experiencing measles symptoms or had been exposed to the disease from being in public places, imposing fines of $2,000 per day for those who violate the order.
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According to the CDC, symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Three to five days after the first symptoms present themselves, a red, splotchy rash will appear on your face and spread over your body.
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles,” the CDC writes. “Anyone who has received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine is considered immune and highly unlikely to get measles.”