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Airports Given H1N1 Quarantine Powers By Federal Government

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Passengers may be screened for swine flu when leaving, entering U.S.

Steve Watson
Friday, Oct 9, 2009

The next time you take a flight to or from the U.S. you won’t just be subject to full body scans, fingerprint analysis and retinal probes, you may have your temperature taken and could even be quarantined under new powers granted to airports to deal with the H1N1 “pandemic”.

Airport security staff have been issued new guidelines by the government to watch out for people who “look like they may have the H1N1 virus”.

Any passengers singled out may then be asked to have their temperatures taken, walk through screening devices, and provide more detailed information about their state of health.

Airports will also have the authority to quarantine entire flights of people if they suspect one person on board has swine flu.

The new guidelines have been published on the Flu.gov website with a notice that reads:

Due to the outbreak of H1N1 (Swine) flu occurring in the United States and many other countries, airport staff in some countries may check the health of arriving passengers. Travelers from the United States arriving in other countries may be checked for fever and other symptoms of H1N1 (Swine) flu, and their travel may be delayed.

The guidelines indicate that airport security staff may ask international travelers to:

  • Pass through a scanning device that checks your temperature. (The device may look like an airport metal detector, a camera, or a handheld device.)
  • Have your temperature taken with an oral or ear thermometer
  • Fill out a sheet of questions about your health
  • Review information about the symptoms of H1N1 (Swine) flu
  • Give your address, phone number, and other contact information
  • Be quarantined for a period of time if a passenger on your flight is found to have symptoms of H1N1 (Swine) flu
  • Contact health authorities in the country you are visiting to let them know if you become ill

If passengers are suspected of having H1N1 after screening they may, according to the guidelines:

  • Be isolated from other people until you are well
  • Have a medical examination
  • Take a rapid flu test (which consists of a nasal swab sample)
  • Be hospitalized and given medical treatment, if you test positive for H1N1 (Swine) flu

Watch a WVIB news report on this story:


Some airports, such as Sacramento International Airport, are offering flu vaccinations in their terminals in a precedent setting move that critics have described as concerning.

In related news, Massachusetts lawmakers yesterday passed a bill giving public health officials the power to isolate and quarantine people they suspect to be infected with contagious diseases.

The new clampdown comes despite the fact that doctors and health officials in areas that were subjected to H1N1 flu last spring are seeing very little evidence to suggest that the virus is returning in a much predicted “second wave”.

This article was posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

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