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Govt takes measures against flu

Thermal scanners to guard for incoming cases of illness.

AUTHORITIES at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports will install thermal scanners today to detect possible cases of fever among arriving passengers in a bid to keep swine flu from the Kingdom, Sona Soth, the director of Phnom Penh International Airport, said Monday.

Four Ministry of Health flu experts went to Cambodia's two international airports Sunday to check their thermal imaging equipment,  which originally had been brought in to combat H5N1 avian influenza cases.

After some minors repairs, the machines would be reinstalled, Sona Soth said, as Cambodia joins its regional neighbours in ramping up vigilance against the virus.

Airport authorities will also meet with officials from the ministries of Health, Agriculture and Commerce on Friday  in Kampong Cham to discuss further measures to prevent diseases like bird and swine flu from crossing the border into Cambodia, he told the Post.

"We are thinking about handing leaflets to all tourists who pass through the airport," Sona Soth said.

Kao Phal, director of the Animal Health and Production Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the ministry was working together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and veterinary officials in both rural and urban areas to educate people about swine flu.

"We are working to spread awareness among the public and to all cross-border checkpoint officials about the new flu outbreak," Kao Phal said.

He also pointed out that the public-awareness campaigns and other response systems created to protect Cambodia from bird flu would help fight swine flu as well.

Cambodia already has the capacity to do flu testing and has trained 8,000 village health workers in 184 districts, said Dr Lotfi Allal, the chief technical adviser for the FAO.

Other health care experts, while acknowledging that information about swine flu was limited, said the outbreak was not a major concern.

Still, Kao Phal also urged officials to monitor conditions at all pig farms in Cambodia for any suspicious pig deaths.

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