Ministry of Agriculture on alert over swine flu

May 02, 2009, Saturday/ 18:11:00/ ERCAN YAVUZ
Although there have not yet been any cases of swine flu reported in Turkey, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture are taking measures to stop the disease from spreading into the country.

The Health Ministry has asked citizens to avoid travel to countries where swine flu has been reported if it is not absolutely necessary. The Agriculture Ministry has increased its supervision of pig farms in Turkey and has been following imported pork products closely.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker detailed the precautions his ministry has taken against swine flu. He said inspections of pig farms have been increased. Noting that pig farms in Turkey are always subject to routine health inspections, he added: “There has been no proof that the flu is transmitted through meat, but we still the take necessary precautions. Inspections at pig farms and slaughterhouses have been increased. Also, inspections are done at airports with thermal cameras. There is no danger in imported products because they are processed; however, since the disease is transmitted through the air, it is easily transmitted between people. We must be careful in this respect.” Meanwhile, in a report on swine flu drafted by a commission established by three Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies it was concluded that inspections at İstanbul Atatürk Airport are adequate. However, the report said precautions at Antalya Airport are not sufficient and that the inspections at the airport are based only on observations by health staff. It also emphasized that health staff at the airports in Bodrum, İzmir and Ankara, as well as Antalya, should be supported by thermal cameras.

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