x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New scanners will detect swine flu

All entry points to the UAE will be fitted with thermal scanners to detect swine flu, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday.

ABU DHABI // All entry points to the UAE will be fitted with thermal scanners to detect swine flu, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday. The scanners detect high temperatures in passengers and are already in use in all airports and along the UAE-Saudi Arabian border. The move comes a day after the ministry announced that passengers on a recent flight to Dubai are being contacted after one tested positive for swine flu, according to the state news agency WAM. The Indian citizen was stopping over on May 12 in Dubai, on his way from New York to Hyderabad. The infrared devices register body temperatures above 38˚C. An airport official confirmed that the machines cost more than upwards of Dh183,000 (US$50,000). Last an 20 thermal scanners were delivered to the ministry. It is not known when the devices will be installed or what the scanning procedures will be. The MOH was not available for comment yesterday. "This is a good thing," said Dr Soudabeh Jones, an expert in travel medicine based in Dubai. "It is important to know as soon as possible if someone sick so that they can be treated and so that they don't infect any more people." Although such measures may help delay the entry of swine flu into the country, she said, it would be unlikely to prevent it if the disease had reached neighbouring states. No other countries in the region have reported cases of the H1N1 virus. Internationally, 8,480 confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in the 39 countries. amcmeans@thenational.ae