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Crying ‘Foul’ at Fowl Feathered Friends

Bali Airport Preparing to Introduce Health Screening to Present Global Spread of Bird Flu Virus

(5/18/2013) Reports of limited outbreaks of the H7N9 virus in Asia in China and as far-afield as the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia are fueling fears that the scourge of the H5N1 Avian Flu virus or its variants could emerge in Bali.

The potentially deadly bird flu virus threatens to both disrupt public health and cripple the local tourism industry if an outbreak of the disease resulted in a sudden downturn in visitors to Bali.

As reported by Bisnis Bali, Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport is seeking to establish a first line of defense against the introduction of any human-borne virus of contagion carried by arriving passengers by installing body-temperature detectors that will separate those running a fever in order further screening can be undertaken by port health officials.

Sherly Yunita, a spokesman for PT Angkasa Pura I, the management authority for Bali’s Airport, said on Tuesday, May 13, 2013, said the airport has prepared all the equipment needed to detect the virus blamed for a number of deaths in nearby China. Said Yunita: “All the equipment is ready. We are only waiting for instructions from the Ministry of Health. If the Ministry of Health agrees, we ill immediately implement the necessary steps.”

Yunita said the preventive detectors on standby could detect elevated body temperatures. There are also disinfection units ready to be used. At the same time, she emphasized that final responsibility in matters of public health and preventative steps to be taken rests with the Ministry of Health.

At the same time, the Department of Health has issued instructions to Bali’s airport instructing increase vigilance on preventing a spread of the H7N9 virus.