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Zika virus alert for airport in Odisha capital

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 11:

In view of the global health alert over Zika virus infection outbreak and the advisory issued by the Union Health Ministry, Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) authorities have issued an alert at the airport in the Odisha capital.

Biju Patnaik airport in Bhubaneswar
Biju Patnaik airport in Bhubaneswar

As the city airport operates as a feeder airport on a hub and spoke model, passengers travel to international destinations via New Delhi and vice versa.

Considering the potential threat of infected persons travelling to the state, the authorities have put up advisories as well as a special cell for the incoming international passengers.

“We have put up a board besides the immigration cell. Passengers coming especially from Africa and the US will be monitored by the authorities,” BPIA director Sharad Kumar said.

The board lists out the affected countries wherein the overseas passengers will have to inform the immigration cell about their itinerary whether they have travelled to any of these countries in the recent times so that it would help strengthen vector-control activities, Kumar added.

“In case of any passenger showing symptoms of Zika virus infection, the Health department officials here would be informed about this so that they can be treated in isolated wards. Though the passengers are being subjected to screenings at IGI Airport, New Delhi, we don’t want to take any chances. They will be screened here too” he stated.

Notably, Union Health Ministry has recently issued advisory on disease surveillance and control measures over Zika virus infection outbreak in several countries.

Unlike the influenza viruses such as H1N1 (swine flu), Zika infection does not spread directly from people to people. Infection is spread through day-biting Aedes species mosquitoes.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.