VARIOUS: Asia-Pacific steps up surveillance measures as more suspect swine flu cases emerge
- Title: VARIOUS: Asia-Pacific steps up surveillance measures as more suspect swine flu cases emerge
- Date: 30th April 2009
- Summary: DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA (APRIL 27, 2009) (REUTERS) ENTRANCE OF DENPASAR AIRPORT IN BALI SIGN OF DENPASAR AIRPORT PASSENGERS QUEUING AT IMMIGRATION CHECKPOINT VARIOUS OF PASSENGER IN QUEUE WEARING A PROTECTIVE MASK (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED PASSENGER SAYING: "I think it is a good idea, I think they've done it very quickly, we've only just heard about this flu and and they've already done it here." VARIOUS OF AIRPORT OFFICER SETTING THERMO-SCAN CAMERA THERMO-SCAN CAMERA OFFICER CHECKING THERMAL SCANNER ON SCREEN THERMO SCANNER ON SCREEN
- Reuters ID: LVA3GOKOY9AV2C9LLLJ6XHCVGP5Z
- Duration: 00:00:42
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- Topics: Health
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- Story Text: Countries across the Asia-Pacific region stepped up preparations to prevent swine flu from entering as health officials put more suspect cases under surveillance on Tuesday (April 28).
South Korea was conducting clinical tests on a person who has the symptoms of swine flu.
"On April 28, three people were reported as suspected patients of the swine influenza infection and two have tested negative. Precision testing is being conducted on one of the people," said Jun Byung-yool, head of Infectious Disease Response of the South Korean Centre for Disease Control at the Health Ministry.
The 51-year-old woman was in southern Mexico until April 25 and returned to South Korea with a stop-over in Los Angeles, Jun said.
Her condition did not appear to be life-threatening and South Korea would have more results from testing as early as Wednesday (April 29), he added.
"Suspected cases are being reported continuously. Those will be tested first by related health organizations according to guidelines prepared by the Centre for Disease Control," said Jun.
The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert for the swine flu virus to phase 4, indicating a significantly increased risk of a pandemic, a global outbreak of a serious disease.
The last such outbreak, a "Hong Kong" flu pandemic in 1968, killed about one million people.
In China, surveillance at airports have been stepped up and in Australia, the Health Minister said it was a matter of time before cases appeared.
"We have got tests at the moment going on for under twenty people across Australia. It is a small number but the introduction you made about the World Health Organisation now stepping up their alert does make it increasingly likely but not inevitable that we will have some case presenting here in the future," said Nicola Roxon, Australia's Health Minister.
The World Health Organisation has warned that the new flu virus, a mixture of swine, human and avian flu viruses that has killed up to 149 people in Mexico, could start a global epidemic.
"I think it is very difficult given the amount of travel that now is in the world and what seems to be a disease which is virulent and able to spread human to human that we will have no cases in the future, But we need to do is to take every step we can to ensure that we limit the number if possible it would be great if there were no cases but I think that is a fairly difficult thing to predict," she said.
In Indonesia, where avian influenza has killed more than 100 people in recent years, thermo-scan cameras were being put up at airports to monitor people coming into the country.
"I think it is a good idea, I think they've done it very quickly, we've only just heard about this flu and and they've already done it here," said one unidentified tourist at the airport in Bali.
The swine flu is not caught from eating pig meat products, but several countries imposed import bans on pork from the United States. Stocks in companies such as airlines were also hit as investors worried about the impact on travel.
Worldwide, seasonal flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people in an average year. The new strain is worrying as it spreads rapidly between humans and there is no vaccine for it.
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