Hyderabad: With two Zika virus patients reported in Thailand, the Health ministry has ordered improved surveillance at airports. However, no screening is being carried out. The ground unit at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) targets passengers who reported fever, cold or cough. A senior member of the unit said, “We take down their details and refer them to a higher centre for screening. They arrive in the city and may get in touch with others. There is no screening mechanism set up at the airport.”
The unit has two nurses, one junior doctor and an official from the district medical and health office of Hyderabad. The World Health Organisa-tion has asked the government to strengthen screening at airports due to the huge traffic between South East Asian countries and India.
A senior officer said, “The WHO guidelines state that there must be dedicated medical centres to scan passengers coming in from these regions with viral infections and must be referred to laboratory tests. It also states that people must not be wary of isolation if suspected of a vector borne infection as it has the chances of spreading. But presently we are merely taking down details and following up later, which is not the right method.” District medical and health officer in-charge of Hyderabad, Dr Padmaja, refused to comment on the subject stating that she was yet to receive any new orders from the state ministry.