Korea Air Passengers Quarantined In New Zealand Over Fear Of Bird Flu

Some 223 persons onboard a Korean Air plane at the Auckland Airport were temporary quarantined by New Zealand health authorities when one of the passengers after a sick passenger sparked fears of a possible case of bird flu.

The passenger, woman was later deemed to be "no risk" and suffering from suspected gastroenteritis, airport police Inspector Richard Middleton said, congratulating the flight crew for notifying authorities about the potential problem.

The woman, whose name was not released, was briefly treated at a hospital in Auckland, Middleton said.

Crew on the flight, from South Korea via Australia, alerted airport authorities when the woman began vomiting and showing other possible bird flu symptoms, sparking a lockdown on the tarmac as the plane landed, said Norman Upjohn, an ambulance duty manager.

The 223 people aboard the Boeing 747 were held for about an hour under "full quarantine procedure" while a paramedic in protective clothing examined the woman, Upjohn said.

South Korea declared itself bird flu free in June, after reporting no new cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu — in birds or humans — for three months. Australia and New Zealand have reported no infections of H5N1, which has killed at least 206 people worldwide since 2003, according to the World Health Organization.

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