Friday, November 25, 2005

News - US adds 10 quarantine stations for bird flu screening

Expanding an old weapon in the struggle against infectious disease, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has opened 10 new quarantine stations at major ports of entry in the past 18 months and plans to add several more in the coming year.

The US now has medical officers at 17 airports and at the busy border crossing in El Paso, Texas, to screen people entering the country for communicable diseases. They are particularly alert for travelers showing symptoms of the avian influenza virus that has spread across Asia and into Europe.

The avian flu strain, known as H5N1, has forced the slaughter of millions of chickens and other fowl and has caused 67 human deaths as of late last week, according to the World Health Organization. The virus, while affecting huge numbers of birds, is not yet efficiently transmitted among people. But medical authorities fear that the virus could mutate into a lethal human flu strain and touch off a global pandemic that could kill millions.

Taipei Times - archives

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