Airport watch up for new flu strain
MANILA, Philippines—Bureau of Quarantine personnel remain on high alert at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) and other airports around the country for the newly discovered avian flu virus strain known as H7N9.
Bureau Director Dr. Alexander Oba said the thermal scanning of all foreign passengers arriving at the Naia continued, with those found to be with fever taken aside and subjected to tests.
He said the same protocols enforced by the agency during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Influenza A (H1N1) virus, H5N1 avian flu and the Novel Coronavirus 2012 outbreaks will be in place for H7N9.
Oba, however, said there was nothing to worry about, citing reports from China that the outbreak had been contained.
“There’s nothing to be alarmed about because from the three cases noted by Chinese authorities, so far they’re saying it (H7N9) has low transmissibility in humans. There’s no human to human (infection) yet. Transmission from avian to human is also low. And, best of all, they assured that they had contained the cases there,” Oba told reporters.
Of the three patients reported in China, two elderly men from Shanghai died while an elderly woman in Chouzou remained in critical condition. However, people who were in contact with the patients did not develop the flu, according to China’s health commission.
Wire reports quoted World Health Organization officials as saying that because of the sporadic cases, it was difficult to predict the lethality of the H7N9. They added, however, that such emerging viruses tended to be more severe in humans so health authorities should always remain on the lookout.