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Sickness on Hong Kong flight non-threatening

By Katy Byron
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday released passengers on board a flight from Hong Kong after determining that the flu-like symptoms in some of them were normal.

There was "nothing to be concerned about," Dennis Quinton of the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security told CNN.

"The plane has officially been allowed to enter the U.S.," Quinton added.

The 272 passengers aboard the Continental flight were released to customs and immigrations officials at the airport, according to a spokesman for Continental Airlines.

Approximately seven passengers had complained of flu-like symptoms while aboard the plane, according to the crew on board, a Continental spokesman said.

"It is believed that the ill passengers were part of a group of more than 80 tourists who sailed together on a river cruise in Asia," Continental Airlines spokesman David Messing told CNN.

The group's final travel destination is Montreal, Canada, according to Continental.

The crew of Continental Flight 98 notified the CDC after takeoff from Hong Kong that "several passengers appeared ill," according to Continental. A representative of the CDC met the plane upon its arrival at Newark, it said.

Rogers Ramsey, a representative for University Hospital at Newark said an emergency team was on site but would not say whether the passengers had been treated aboard the plane.

CNN's Julian Cummings contributed to this report.


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