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Passengers from Middle East to be sceened at Karnataka airports for MERS Virus

Thursday, 22 May 2014 - 9:08pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: PTI

The Karnataka Government will set upsurveillance teams at Bangalore International Airport and Mangalore Airport to conduct test on passengers arriving from the Middle East, where Mers Coronavirus has created panic in those countries, Health Minister UT Khader said.

"As per the advisory of the Central Government, the government will set up surveillance teams at the Kempegowda International Airport and Mangalore Airport to conduct test on passengers arriving from the Middle East...," he told reporters here.

The decision also comes in the wake of reports that thedisease is spreading in Karnataka as a large number of peoplefrom Middle East countries arrive through Bangalore and Mangalore airports, Khader said.

The minister also said the disease is similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Hence, passengers fromthose countries should be screened.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a viral respiratory illness that first surfaced in Saudi Arabia in April 2012, is caused by a coronavirus called MERS-CoV. The disease is referred to as Coronaviruses as they have crown-like projections on their surfaces. "Corona" in Latin means "crown" or "halo".

Recently, it has been confirmed that Arabian camel is theorigin of the infectious disease.

Talking about H1N1 disease, Khader said the health department had stepped up surveillance and awareness measures as the number of influenza cases were on the rise.

So far eight deaths due to swine flu have been reportedsince January this year, he said, adding, "Three deaths were reported this month."


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