Medical teams are on alert at the border of Khulna to check passengers travelling from West Bengal, India, a zone where the outbreak of the deadly H1N1 virus has infected around 200 lives in the last two months.
The health department, district and divisional administration are taking measures to stop the intrusion of swine flu in the country through the three land ports and one sea port situated in six districts – Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Jessore, Meherpur and Chuadanga.
The medical teams under the health department are keeping round-the-clock watch on more than thousands of men and women entering the country through the ports every day.
They have placed a “non contract thermometer” to check body temperature of the passengers and mariners at Jessore’s Benapole port, Satkhira’s Bhomra port and Bagerhat’s Mongla port, health department, livestock department and BGB officials told the Dhaka Tribune. Three physicians are providing treatment at the ports in shifts. The suspected are sent to the Khulna District General Hospital where separate beds are allocated for the swine flu patients.
Director of Health, Khulna, Dr Anil Chandra Dutta said many are becoming affected by swine flu in India, particularly in West Bengal. In this situation, the virus can spread to many areas under Khulna division as it shares a long border with India.
“Those coming from foreign lands including India are being suggested to take medical help if they have fever or cold. The medical officers have been given the vaccination to prevent swine flu. Moreover, contact details of those travelling to and from India are being recorded. If any of them have fever for 6-7 days continuously then they are being referred to the health department,” he said.
Khulna Medical College Hospital Supervisor Dr Abdus Samad said: “The area falls under the risk of swine flu as it is situated by the border. Physicians and beds have been specially allocated to such patients. However, necessary materials for treatment are yet to reach the spots. The higher authorities were informed about the matter.”
Additional District Livestock Officer Dr Arun Kanti Mondol said: “In Dumuria and Batiaghata upazila 6,138 pigs are being raised in 17 districts. The farms are being monitored regularly and reports are being informed to the authorities concerned.”
Satkhira Civil Surgeon Saleh Ahmed said passengers were observed from 8am to 1pm and 1:30pm to 5:30pm in Bhomra land port. No passenger has so far been detected with the virus.
Bagerhat Civil Surgeon Dr Md Bakir Hossain said a medical team comprising five members was working at the Mongla port. The mariners rarely come out of the ships.
On March 9, Khulna District Commissioner Md Mostafa Kamal, in the Khulna District Development Coordination Committee’s monthly meeting, announced that the Khulna health department was alert in tackling swine flu.