Airport on alert after Zika cases detected in Singapore

Fever-screening will continue and pamphlets educating passengers on Zika are being distributed

Updated - October 18, 2016 01:04 pm IST

Published - September 02, 2016 01:32 am IST - Chennai:

With Indian nationals being diagnosed with the Zika virus in Singapore, the Chennai Airport, which is only about four hours apart by air travel, has laid emphasis on assiduously keeping up passive screening procedures.

Fever screening that is already in place at the airport will continue, and pamphlets informing passengers on basic facts about Zika are being distributed. Recently, a meeting was held to co-ordinate the screening and other preventive measures between officials of the airport and the health department.

Meanwhile, the health staff are being trained at the National Institute of Virology and the lab at King Institute, Guindy, that has been equipped to test for the virus, officials said.

The World Health Organisation had issued a travel advisory earlier this year specifying that non-essential travel to affected countries could be avoided. High-risk categories include pregnant women, as Zika affects the unborn child.

The Indian shores have hitherto been free of Zika transmission, but health concerns emerged here after Singapore was included and because of Chennai’s proximity to the nation, given the frequency of flights to and from here.

However, health department officials said the infection caused by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito was usually self-limiting and short-lived. However, anyone travelling from affected nations should watch out for signs and symptoms including fever, headache, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, joint and muscle pain and consult a doctor in case of symptoms. Pregnant women, who have travelled to the affected countries, are advised to have regular antenatal check-ups.

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