Airport trains for epidemic preparedness

    By: Tom MacDonald

    Philadelphia International Airport Employees this week undertook an exercise to determine their preparedness for an overseas epidemic.

    By: Tom MacDonald
    tmacdonald@whyy.org

    Philadelphia International Airport Employees this week undertook an exercise to determine their preparedness for an overseas epidemic. WHYY’s Tom MacDonald reports.

    Script:
    Chief Customs and Border Protection Specialist Hal Fingerman says the test consisted of two people coming to Philadelphia from Hong Kong through London, showing respiratory distress.

    Fingerman: “When they got into the US Customs Area, it was reported to a Customs and Boarder Protection Officer who contacted CDC and EMS. Upon quarantineing these folks, the customs and boarder protection officers were checking their bags when they found two live birds.”

    The birds weren’t really infected with the avian flu, but played the part, as did the mock passengers. Fingerman says the goal of the exercise was to identify people who potentially had a contagious disease, quarantine them and investigate the source of the illness. He says everything went as planned, and Customs is satisfied with the results.

    Listen:
    Click on the play button below or right click on this link and choose “Save Link As” to download.

    [audio: reports20090228airport.mp3]

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