• Kyodo News


Three girls were being tested for swine flu after returning from the United States and Mexico, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the Kyoto Prefectural Government said Tuesday.

The girls, two of them under 10 years old and the third between 10 and 19, had a fever.

Of the two younger girls, the one who arrived Tuesday at Kansai International Airport tested positive for swine flu in a preliminary exam, the ministry said. A preliminary test on the other young girl, who returned from Mexico on Sunday, came up negative, the Kyoto government said.

The older girl came up positive in a preliminary test after flying into Central Japan International Airport from the U.S. on Tuesday, the ministry said.

As masses of travelers began returning from abroad during Golden Week, major airports boosted the number of doctors and nurses in their quarantine sections to look for the new H1N1 flu.

No cases have been confirmed in Japan, although several people have come up positive in preliminary tests.

On Monday, a woman who came back through Narita airport from the U.S. showed up positive in a preliminary test. The health ministry then said early Tuesday she was infected with a different type of flu.

The total number of officers, doctors and nurses at the quarantine sections at Narita, Kansai International and Central Japan International airports has been increased by more than three times the usual number, according to the health ministry.

“The degree of preparedness might be unprecedented,” a ministry official said.

The three airports are major destinations for direct flights from North America, where swine flu has spread rapidly after having first been detected in Mexico.

At Narita, the number of people on quarantine duty was increased Tuesday to 280 to carry out such measures as checking the health of passengers from North America while they are still on board their planes.

The number of returning travelers at Narita was expected to top more than 46,000 on Wednesday.

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