LAHORE/ISLAMABAD - Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has established special counters at all international airports in the country to check any swine flu affected passengers coming into Pakistan. A spokesman said that CAA Director General Junaid Amin has also directed all other private airlines to ensure such steps to check the affected passengers. He said that these counters have been established with the cooperation of health department as health facilities are provided at all domestic and international airports. Meanwhile, the health authorities in Islamabad on Tuesday directed the airport and seaport officials to be on red alert. It is not a national high alert situation, as Pakistan does not have pig farming, so frankly speaking we need not be in any panic in this regard, commented Director General Health Rasheed Jooma when contacted. He said that health officers at major airports like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad had been directed to keep a vigilant eye on the passengers coming from the affected countries and in case they found someone suffering from Flu Like Illness (FLI), they should immediately isolate him and perform the required tests in this regard. We have also asked the airlines to check their passengers and if someone is having flu symptoms, they must inform the airport officials before landing so that precautionary measure can be taken, he added. On the other hand, seaport authorities had also been advised to properly screen and check the shipments coming from American and European countries. Media reports on the outbreak of Swine influenza in some countries of the world had alarmed the citizens of twin cities while health authorities told TheNation that the scare of people was unnecessary and based on anticipation anxiety and the officials further claimed that Pakistan had the capability to meet the health challenge in case of its occurrence. The past record of outbreaks of Bird Flu and existing Dengue prevalence in some pockets of the country have caused doubts in the minds of the people who consider that SIV arrival in the country might pose a serious threat to them and they question the efficiency of health managers to curtail the epidemic. A health expert told this correspondent that although being a Muslim country Pakistan was far away from being a victim of the said virus, yet timely preventive measures must be taken considering the fact that the world had turned into a global village and travelling had become far easier than past as now a person thousands miles away from the affected country could reach Pakistan in a few hours. He said that initially the virus was transmitted from pig to pig but now after it had spread into human beings it had turned into an epidemic taking hundreds of lives and putting the whole world into a state of terror. Elaborating symptoms of swine flu, he said, It is similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and includes fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. He continued, Like dengue fever and influenza virus there is no vaccine that can prevent the current swine flu epidemic. When an official of the World Health Organisation in Pakistan was contacted to comment on the issue, he said, We are bound to work with the Health Ministry and so far we have not received any kind of directions from the high-ups but we have geared up the surveillance system on our own and further issues are in process. So far the head office of the WHO in Geneva has not announced to implement any kind of travelling restrictions nor it has asked for border closure at any place, so we are hoping that the situation would be controlled shortly, he further said. A specific medical kit called Poly-Meter Chain Reaction (PCR) is available with the National Institute of Health where the particular test for confirming Swine flu could be performed. The kit is available at a very limited scale both at public and private level, WHO official added. Swine flu is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs, caused by one of several swine influenza A virus. The virus is spread among pigs by aerosols, direct and indirect contact, and symptomatic carrier pigs. Many countries routinely vaccinate swine populations against swine influenza. Swine influenza viruses are most commonly of the H1N1 subtype, but other subtypes are also circulating in pigs (e.g., H1N2, H3N1, H3N2). The virus can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air.