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Okinawa takes precautions against Swine Flu

Date Posted: 2009-04-30

Public health officials are rolling out everything from public warnings to enhanced passenger inspections at Naha International Airport as the wave of Swine Flu continues to spread from Mexico to the countries including the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Israel and Spain.

Japan has initiated closer scrutiny of passengers, including those who have returned to Asia from visits to Mexico. Body checks are being conducted at airports to determine if they have fevers, and machines are being used to determine if any are carriers of the swine-influenza virus.

Public health officials are explaining that swine-influenza is a respiratory disease from pigs, an infection of an A-type virus. They say pig-to-pig virus transmissions are at epidemic proportions, but the transfer pig-to-human, and now human-to-human contamination and infection is spread easily by coughs and sneezes.

Okinawa Electric Power Co. has issued a prevention books, masks and gurgle medicine to workers. All arriving tourists are asked to fill in a questionnaire about their health and the airport has installed an infrared camera to detect those who have fever. Posters warning about flu symptoms and advising preventive measures have been posted on the walls of public offices.

Medical officials say common signs are fever, loss of appetite, throat pain, nausea, diarrhea and lassitude. The most simple measures for protection and treatment, they say, are frequent hand washings, use of face masks, and avoiding going into crowded places. There are medicines against the virus, but no vaccine currently available for swine flu.

Public health authorities say eating processed pork products is safe, because swine influenza virus dies when meat is boiled or heated above 71C. The same applies to other viruses, they say. Consumption of raw meat is no good, and is dangerous. The best advice, doctors say, is to heat, boil or grill all meat to a temperature of 71C or higher.
Authorities confirm there are travelers who have arrived on Okinawa from Mexico City. The basic safety warnings are being stressed across the island.

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