A flight from the Dominican Republic that landed at JFK Airport on Sunday night was held on the tarmac while Port Authority officials tried to determine whether a passenger had the measles.
The flight, JetBlue 410 from Santo Domingo, landed at 9 p.m., but its passengers were kept on the plane for about an hour. Yeshiva World News reports, "[C]rew members feared passengers having the highly contagious measles virus. Sources tell YWN that JetBlue Flight 410 from Santo Domingo Republic was carrying dozens of Orthodox Jewish passengers who were returning from a Pesach program."
There is currently an outbreak of measles across the country, with 626 reported cases this year so far, which is the second-highest number of incidents since 2000 (all of 2014 had 667 cases). Most of the cases have been concentrated in New York City and Rockland County, which have recorded nearly 600 cases between them, and those cases have been concentrated in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
The plane's passengers were allowed off the plane only after, according to Yeshiva World News, "Jewish community activists immediately contacted the family’s pediatricians and doctors, and produced records showing that the entire family had been immunized. It appears that the suspicious rash on the children was instead some type of bites from bugs."
Measles is a highly contagious, air-borne virus that causes a fever and rash. Babies, pregnant women, the elderly, and the immunocompromised are the most vulnerable to extremely severe reactions to the measles.
A passenger told NBC New York, "Some sort of medic type guy came on with a mask and a police man, probably Port Authority, with a mask looked at the kid and decided that it was probably mosquito bites."
"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," JetBlue said in a statement. All customers were cleared and the flight deplaned normally."