With the rising numbers of A (H1N1) cases in the State, the government's initiative in opening a screening facility at the Chennai airport's domestic and international terminals, is helping monitor passengers arriving in the city.

The month-old free service, available to all passengers arriving at the Chennai airport, was opened by the Department of Community Medicine affiliated with the Corporation of Chennai. Doctors from Kilpauk Medical College and Chettinad Hospital and Research Institute have been posted at the screening counters.

One doctor is available at this voluntary screening counter throughout the day. Airport officials said big banners have been put up to inform passengers about this optional facility.

Thirteen doctors have been allotted to the domestic and international terminals each. “If passengers have any symptoms such as a sore throat, high grade fever, headache, body pain, sneezing and fatigue, which are indicative of A (H1N1), we refer them for a confirmatory test for the A (H1N1) virus at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine,” said Dr. Manoj Kumar, House Surgeon from Kilpauk Medical College, who was the doctor on duty.

If the patient tests positive for the virus, then he/she is referred to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. There is also a 108 ambulance service available, to transport patients when necessary to the hospital.

Check-ups at the counter are free of cost. However, once referred for the A (H1N1) influenza test, those tested have to pay the stipulated amount for the Polymerase Chain Reaction test.

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