Sep 102016

AIRLINES have been told to disinfect their planes before landing and taking off from the country’s airports, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), to check the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), an attached agency of the Department of Health, issued a memorandum dated Sept. 1 reminding airlines, aircraft operators, ground handlers and airport authorities to spray or “disinsect”—eliminate insects in air travel—the cabins of international flights to prevent the spread of the Zika virus through the country’s airports.

It also intends to check the spread of other diseases that could be transmitted through insect bites.

Onie Nakpil, chair of the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Airline Operators Council, welcomed the directive and said they would abide by it.

He said Manila-bound airlines would be required to spray or fumigate the aircraft cabins, particularly if they were flying in from countries with a high number of cases of Zika virus infection.

The memo states that cabins of aircraft, prior to the unloading of cargo, must be sprayed with a solution of d-phenothrin (a component of insecticides) and permethrin (an insecticide and repellant). The quantity of the insecticide sprayed would depend on the type or size of aircraft, while the methods used for “disinsection” may also vary by destination.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization recommend two methods: spraying insecticide in the cabin while passengers are onboard; or treating the aircraft’s interior surfaces with residual insecticide while there are no passengers.

The WHO has declared the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern. It has asked countries to undertake necessary measures to stop its spread.

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