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Phoenix airport workers screening for ill passengers, warning those from Mexico

PHOENIX — Screeners working at their regular Customs counters at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airportwere on the lookout for people showing flu-like symptoms Monday.

Such passengers will be given masks and gloves and brought into a separate room where they will be asked about their travels and activities over the past week.

Passengers arriving from Mexico are being given a flier saying public health officials are investigating an outbreak of swine flu, listing symptoms of the respiratory illness, and providing tips on how to prevent it from spreading. If necessary, sick travelers will be referred to local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are going to be able to hear if they are coughing, if they are stuffy,” said Bonnie Arellano, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Arizona, which is in charge of the screenings here.

Eighteen nonstop flights by US Airways and Aeromexico are run each day between Phoenix and cities in Mexico.

Arizona health officials say the state has no confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu so far.

Department of Health Services spokeswoman Laura Oxley said Monday that the department’s lab is testing flu samples submitted by physicians and other clinicians but that none fall outside normal flu types.

Documented cases of swine flu have turned up in a number of other states, including California and Texas.

Arizona officials are urging health providers to be on the lookout for swine flu and to submit samples for testing.

Meanwhile, health officials say people should frequently wash their hands, sneeze into a tissue and stay home if they’re sick.

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This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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