Ahmedabad airport taking special care at flu screening

May 4th, 2009 - 11:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Ahmedabad May 4 (IANS) While international airports in the country have beefed up screening of passengers to check for possible swine flu symptoms, authorities at Ahmedabad airport are taking especial care as a high percentage of the NRI traffic arriving everyday from the US and Europe comprise Gujaratis, an airport official said Monday.
A dedicated team of doctors and paramedics is present at the 12 international airports to screen arriving passenger traffic, an Airports Authority of India (AAI), the regulator of airports in India, official said in New Delhi. So far, 17 people with suspected flu symptoms have been hospitalised, but 12 have been cleared of any infection.

An AAI official at Ahmedabad said that the daily arrival of Gujarati diaspora at the airport makes Gujarat vulnerable to the spread of the H1N1 virus, particularly in the cities of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Anand, which have the maximum number of NRIs settled in Europe and North America - the two worst affected countries apart from Mexico.

As many as 1,577 international passengers arriving at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad were screened for swine flu virus by health officials since Saturday, the official said.

He said none of the arriving passengers so far has tested positive. The arrivals were from the US, Europe, West Asia snd Southeast Asian countries.

The screening of passengers would continue till the alert is called off by the union health ministry in New Delhi, he added.

The World health Organisation (WHO) has warned of a second wave of the virus - more lethal than the initial outbreak sweeping across countries. Three new countries have reported confirmed cases of flu - Ireland, the Netherlands, Colombia and El Salvador, making the total 19.

So far, the swine flu epidemic has killed 19 in people in Mexico and one toddler in the US.

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