A man has died after shots were fired in a terminal at the Houston Intercontinental Airport in the US, sending panicking passengers diving for cover and prompting a security lockdown and the suspension of some flights.

Roxanne Mena, spokeswoman for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, confirmed the death and said that the body was still at the airport by mid afternoon.

There were no other injuries or suspects involved in the shooting, Houston Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said. The dead man was not identified.

The incident at Terminal B of the George Bush Intercontinental Airport prompted a security lockdown and a suspension of flights in and out of the terminal by the Federal Aviation Authority.

A US government official later said the situation had been contained.

Police said the armed man was shot near a ticket counter outside the security perimeter. It was not clear when he died or whether he had shot himself.

Terminal B was still on lockdown by mid afternoon although flights were going in and out of the airport in other terminals.

United Airlines said it requested the ground stop of flights and said a few of its United Express flights had been affected.

No other details of the incident were immediately available from police.