Gulf Air, the national airline of Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced precautionary measures against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Although the cause of the atypical pneumonia has not yet been precisely determined, initial medical assessment indicates that is most likely viral in nature, and can be spread through close contact with an infected person, specifically through respiratory secretions and body fluids.
In a press release dated March 15, 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO), advised that people should not cancel travel plans, but has issued guidelines to travelers and airlines to be aware of the major symptoms of the illness, which include a high fever in excess of 38 degrees Celsius and a range of respiratory difficulties, such as a cough, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.
“Gulf Air’s prime concern is for the safety and well being of its passengers and crew,“ said Luke Medley, Gulf Air’s vice president services. ” We will take all steps to ensure that people showing evidence of flu symptoms, and who have a recent travel history to areas reporting SARS, be assessed by a competent medical examiner before boarding the aircraft.”
In a general notice to staff, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Gulf Air indicated that in cases where symptoms are identified during the course of flight, the commander should notify the ground handling agent at the destination airport as early as possible and request medical assistance for further assessment and management, and so that precautionary measures can be taken. This is in line with guidelines issued by the WHO.
While stressing that there is no cause for alarm, the CMO said: “Travelers and crew experiencing the symptoms associated with SARS are advised to seek immediate medical attention and ensure that information about their recent travel is passed on to the health care staff. Furthermore, travelers who develop these symptoms are advised not to undertake further travel until they have recovered.” — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )