Why No IR Screening at USA Ports?

USA (Opinion) — Yesterday came the report that India will join a growing number of countries installing IR Thermal Cameras at airports to screen for possible flu carriers.

We reported earlier about Thermal Camera installations in Australia, Bulgaria, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

(You can bet your bippie that the ones in China, Japan, Singapore and others have been trotted out, dusted off and placed back in service, if they were ever out-of-service)

Why doesn’t the USA have a similar policy? Is anything being done about it except diverting a few aircraft for one or two ill passengers? We haven’t heard or seen any reports and there’s precious little about efforts to thwart flu spreading from passengers arriving from Mexico

Yet while US authorities were apparently ignoring the airport screening issue, the big news yesterday was school children need no longer stay home for fear of H1N1 flu.

The new Secretary of Homeland Security, Napolitano, issued a press release yesterday, too. Aside from reporting a second death in Texas, she said,

“…confirmed 642 cases of H1N1 flu in 41 states. Additionally, CDC has begun reporting probable cases as well, which now stand at 845 in 42 states…”

“Next we are continuing working with state, local, tribal, and territorial health officials and emergency managers because they, too, have now seen after this round of outbreak what gaps they may have in their systems, and we want to work with them on that and what needs to be present.”

Something seems upside down here. We wonder if US authorities have even issued fever thermometers to airport personnel, or bothered to enlist the corps of TSA workers that abound at air travel sites. Isn’t this a Homeland Security issue, after all?

Note In late 2008, IEC published the standard: IEC 80601-2-59 Ed. 1.0 “Medical electrical equipment – Part 2-59: Particular requirements for the basic safety and essential performance of screening thermographs for human febrile temperature screening” .

It provides many performance and calibration requirements for devices used in this application.

In March 2009, the ISO standard, ISO/TR 13154:2009 “Medical electrical equipment — Deployment, implementation and operational guidelines for identifying febrile humans using a screening thermograph”, was published.

It bears directly on this use, and while not perfect, does represent a major milestone completed since SPRING Singapore began their effort to create workable standards in 2003.

The standards may be purchased and downloaded online at: www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=51236 and webstore.ansi.org RecordDetail.aspx?sku=IEC+80601-2-59+Ed.+1.0+b%3a2008 respectively.