Goa to check tourists from Europe, Mexico for swine flu

April 28th, 2009 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, April 28 (IANS) Goa’s only airport will screen tourists arriving from Mexico, Britain and other European countries for traces of swine flu, officials said Tuesday.
“We are setting up two screening centres at the airport with the help of health department officials,” Dabolim international airport director D. Paul Manikam told IANS.

“The tourist season is not yet over. Goa still has some foreign tourists coming in,” Manikam said.

According to the tourism department, nearly 500 passengers from Britain alone landed in Goa through chartered flights in the last 15 days.

Health department officials said they had standing instructions to track down tourists who arrived in Goa during the last fortnight to scan them for suspected swine flu.

“Incoming tourists will now be scanned at the airport,” said Rajendra Tamba of the Department of Health Services (DHS).

He also said that the quarantine ward at the Chicalim Cottage Hospital would also be kept ready.

“The ward was operational during the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) scare. We are gearing up for the swine flu challenge now,” he said.

Swine flu, which has symptoms similar to those of influenza, is caused by any virus of the Orthomyxoviridae family that is endemic to swine populations, putting those working in pig farms at the risk of catching an infection.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already called it a global health concern.

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