Bulgaria Takes Precautions Against Swine Flu
    2009-04-28 03:57:03     Xinhua      Web Editor: Chu Daye

Bulgaria started to take serious precautions against the spread of swine flu to the country, the National Veterinary Service (NVS) announce Monday.

The Balkan country has stepped up border control on the import of foods of animal origin from countries outside the European Union, the NVS said.

Border policemen will check for pork products the hand luggage of all arrivals from Mexico, the United States, Canada and Japan.

The import of dairy and meat products for personal consumption from countries outside the EU will be banned with the exception of imports from Andorra, Croatia, the Fafoe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Liechetnstein, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland.

"Tightening veterinary control on the import of meat products from countries outside the EU is a precautionary measure," NVS director Yordan Voinov said. He said that no pork has been imported from countries outside the EU.

The true swine flu (H3N2 strain) exists in Bulgaria and is not a risk for human health. The viruses are destroyed during thermal treatment of the meat at temperature over 70 C. Anywhere, there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted in any way other than aerial, the NVS director is quoted as saying.

He also said that Bulgaria is awaiting the World Health Organization's position for uniform measures to curb the spreading of the disease.

The Bulgarian Health Ministry has urged Bulgarians traveling to North America to take extra precautions: seek up-to-date information on possible case of swine flu in the specific part of the U.S. they will be visiting, or get an anti-viral medicine.

The Health Ministry is expected to announce measures in a bid to tighten health checks and inspections amidst the warnings of the World Health Organization that the infection could become a pandemic.

According to local reports, arriving passengers at Sofia airport have to pass through thermal scanners as a preventive measure against the spread of swine flu to the country.

The two thermo graphic imaging device, installed in front of the border police desks, will measure passengers' body temperatures to detect fever possibly caused by swine flu infections.

The spokesman of Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, Dragovest Goranov, said Monday that none of the Bulgarians who reside in Mexico had contacted the Bulgarian Embassy over the outbreak of swine flu.

Two Bulgarians on a trip to Mexico contacted the Embassy to help them speed their departure. According to Goranov, no country has declared a crisis, a ban on trips to Mexico or has advised its citizens to cancel trips to Mexico.

Goranov said that the ministry has been monitoring the situation and that only people in Mexico City are advised to avoid public places and to wear masks over their faces.

At least 20 new cases of swine flu were confirmed in the United States and 10 reported in New Zealand 26 April, as governments worldwide moved to prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus that has claimed more than 100 lives in Mexico.

Spanish Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez confirmed Monday the first case of swine flu in Europe. About 20 people are under investigation for suspected symptoms of the disease in Spain.



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