Philippines steps up airport screening against swine flu

Business Materials 27 April 2009 11:49 (UTC +04:00)

The Philippines has stepped up screening of travellers from Mexico and other countries affected by an outbreak of a deadly swine flu virus, health authorities said Monday, dpa reported.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque stressed that there was still no case of swine flu among humans in the Philippines.

"There is no report of swine flu among humans in the Philippines," he told a press conference.

But Duque urged the public to practice good hygiene to avoid getting sick amid growing concern over the outbreak of the swine flu virus in Mexico, the United States and Canada.

"The Department of Health has stepped up surveillance measures to prevent the entry of the virus," he added.

Edgardo Sabitsana, chief of the Bureau of Quarantine, said thermal scanning at international airports has been beefed up for passengers from Mexico, the United States and Canada.

"Our thermal scanners have 100-per cent effectivity so you can be sure that passengers with fever will be detected," he said.

Sabitsana said further examinations would be enforced for passengers with fever and a history of travel to the affected countries to prevent the entry of the swine flu virus.

"Tests will be conducted before the passengers are allowed to enter," he said. "In six hours, we will know if there are suspicious cases."

At least 103 people have died in Mexico from flu, where more than 1,600 cases were reported, however, it remains unclear how many people died following an infection with swine flu apart from 20 confirmed cases.

On the weekend, the Philippines' Department of Agriculture imposed a ban on the imports of hogs and pork products from Mexico and the US.

The department also ordered increased monitoring and quarantine of sick pigs and encourage hog farmers to regularly vaccinate their pigs from swine flu.