U-Tapao airport, health officials practice Ebola response

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Public health, immigration, navy and military authorities practiced their response to airline passengers infected with Ebola in a drill at U-Tapao-Pattaya International Airport.

Airport director Rear Adm. Wassinsan Chantawarin presided over the Nov. 25 workshop and practice session focusing on the response of a flight diverted from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to the military-run Rayong facility.

Health workers practice an emergency response in case airline passengers infected with Ebola are redirected to U-Tapao-Pattaya International Airport.Health workers practice an emergency response in case airline passengers infected with Ebola are redirected to U-Tapao-Pattaya International Airport.

Dr. Vichan Pawan, head of the international disease department at the Office of General Communicable Diseases opened the session with a lecture on the aspects of the Ebola virus and preventative measures.

The seminar then turned to a scenario in which a 150-passenger flight from an Ebola-stricken nation arrives in Thailand with three passengers exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms, including fever, sore throat and vomiting.

Flight crews detected the sick passengers while the flight was still en route to Bangkok and the flight is diverted to U-Tapao where immigration and medical teams mobilize to isolate passengers suspected of having the disease.

Wassinsan noted that due to Ebola’s deadly nature and the fact there is no cure, ultimate precautions must be taken. While U-Tapao receives more flights than in the past, it remains little used when compared with Suvarnabhumi, cutting the risk of the virus spreading.