SHARJAH // Thirty-eight additional thermal scanners will be installed at airports across the country as part of the effort to manage the swine flu threat, the Minister of Health, Dr Hanif Hassan, said yesterday. The scanners, which detect passengers with high temperatures, cost Dh7.5 million (US$2m) each. The minister yesterday visited Sharjah International Airport to ensure it had put in place measures to adequately manage any passengers suspected of having the flu strain.
"We are very pleased with the organisation at the airport to counteract the spread of swine flu in the country," he said. Anyone suspected of suffering from the flu would be taken to a separate room for further testing. Meanwhile, the UAE's only confirmed swine flu patient has been released from isolation after completing a course of antiviral drugs, the ministry said. The Pakistani national, an associate professor at the UAE University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in Al Ain, had been in Tawam Hospital for a week.
Dr Ali bin Shakar, director general of the ministry, said the quarantine had "successfully contained the spread of the disease" and that it was "unlikely" that the patient's family had contracted the flu. There has been confusion about the flight on which the professor entered the UAE from Canada, and ministry officials declined to respond to questions about screening other passengers from the plane.
"The relatives of the patient are doing well and do not show any symptoms of swine flu," Dr bin Shakar told the state news agency, WAM. "Hence, it is unlikely they contracted the disease." He added that the man's relatives had also been quarantined but would be released. So far this is the only official case of H1N1 reported by health officials in the UAE. Hospitals and clinics have screened a number of other people for the virus, but the results have all been negative.