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Dhaka Tribune

Thermal scanner installed at Dhaka airport

Update : 09 Feb 2016, 07:36 PM

The government has installed thermal scanners at the Shahjalal International Airport to examine people coming from the 30 countries affected by Zika virus, Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim said yesterday.

He said: “The government has also dispatched medical teams to all entry points including the land ports. The teams will identify Zika affected persons as soon as they enter.”

The minister made the disclosure at a press conference held in his Secretariat office yesterday.

“There is no concern over the potential for Zika virus to spread in Bangladesh. As part of precautions, we have set up thermal scanners at Dhaka airport for those coming from the 30 Zika-affected countries. In case of spotting any person suffering from fever, we will conduct further investigation to detect the virus.

“Until we are confirmed that he or she is not carrying the virus, we will keep him/her in an isolation ward, a special room set up inside the airport,” Nasim also said.

Prof Abul Khair Mohammad Shamsuzzaman, the director of the Department of Disease Control, said: “Zika affected patients are yet to be detected in the country. Zika is not as deadly as Dengue virus. We advise people not to be scared of Zika.”

The government has taken some awareness programmes in this regard and the local government authorities have already started the awareness campaign, he added.

Zika, an emerging Aedes-mosquito-borne virus, is spreading throughout the Americas recently and it could reach Bangladesh anytime, health experts have warned.

Concerns grew even stronger inside country after news media in Thailand and Taiwan last month reported cases of the virus infection among locals. Both places are popular destinations for Bangladeshi travellers, increasing the risk of the virus also spreading here.

Aedes aegypti, the carrier of the virus, is also responsible for spreading dengue fever throughout the Indian sub-continent.

At the moment, the Central and Latin Americas have been hit the hardest by Zika virus, with more than three million reported cases of infection last year, according to the Pan American Health Organisation.

BBC says the virus has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains and some countries have advised women not to get pregnant. There is currently no vaccine available for Zika virus infection. 

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