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Bagdogra airport gears up to screen swine flu

Posted by Ramesh Khati on June 19, 2009

Kolkata: With the Bagdogra airport becoming the second international airport in the state, the state health department is gearing up to receive passengers who might fly in with swine flu.

Although Kolkata is yet to confirm any swine flu cases, in the past couple of months there have been around eight suspected cases of N1H1 virus. They were admitted to the Beliaghata Infectious Diseases Hospital.

State health officials, however, are not taking any chances. They have prepared the North Bengal Medical College as the second centre in the state where patients suspected of H1N1 flu can be admitted.

“The North Bengal Medical College has the necessary facilities required to deal with such cases. Since the preparation for avian flu and swine flu is almost the same, we had prepared Siliguri as the nodal point in North Bengal to monitor the area. It is, moreover, the closest hospital from Bagdogra,” said a senior health department official.

The college has an isolation ward with two rooms for male and female patients as well as a ventilator that can be used for serious patients. Since the avian flu outbreak, the health department already has a system in place where microbiologists based in the various district hospitals alert the health officials in case of any suspected swine flu case.

According to state health officials, one of the main reasons why there have not been any confirmed cases of swine flu so far is that Bengal, in comparison to Delhi or even Hyderabad, has fewer international passengers.

While incoming passengers are still being screened at the Kolkata airport, screening will start at the Bagdogra airport from Friday where all international passengers will have to fill up a questionnaire through which airport officials will be able to determine if they might be susceptible to the virus.

Source: The Indian Express

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