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DateLine Tuesday, 28 April 2009

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Swine flu threat:

Lanka on alert

* Swine influenza virus (referred to as SIV) refers to influenza cases caused by Orthomyxoviruses endemic to pig populations.

* SIV strains isolated to date have been classified either as Influenzavirus C or one of the various subtypes of the genus Influenzavirus A.

* Swine flu infects people every year and is found typically in people who have been in contact with pigs.

The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has taken steps to prevent Swine Flu coming into Sri Lanka.

Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has instructed the Ministry Epidemiology Unit and alerts have been sent by the unit to the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Colombo harbour and all the other institutions to monitor passengers coming from Mexico and the US, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said.

He said the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry Epidemiology Unit has made special preparations to face any type of emergency situation. The Unit was ready to face the Avian Influenza, Sars, Ebola and similar diseases in the past.

But no epidemic hit Sri Lanka because of the well maintained surveillance mechanism and high quality healthcare service of the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry, the spokesman said.

According to the spokesman the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned about a possibility of Swine Flu becoming a Global threat. Considering this, the ministry took steps to alert all entry points such as the BIA and the harbour.

The Swine Flu outbreak that hit Mexico last week killed 149 people and infected hundreds more. Mexican authorities closed down museums and schools for millions of students in and around the capital and urged the people with flu symptoms to stay home from work, he added.

 

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