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Young Warriors take Flu tests

By WALTER ALIBEY Wednesday, April 29 2009

click on pic to zoom in

PORTERS at the Piarco International Airport yesterday wore masks and gloves to attend to members of the Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 Football Team who returned home from Mexico City where 150 people have reportedly died from a deadly outbreak of Swine Flu.

The young footballers themselves were visibly masked as they exited the airline that brought them from Panama and were met by personnel from the Ministry of Health as well as other medical practitioners.

The team, which failed in a bid to qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria later this year, was checked and taken onto a waiting PTSC bus where they were taken to the Le Sportel Inn, CONCACAF Centre of Excellence in Macoya for further tests.

Team doctor Mario John confirmed that the test done yesterday was a Polymerese Chain Reaction test (PCR) which he explained was a test for the H1N1 strain of the Swine Flu virus. The tests he said were done from samples taken from each member of the team with cotton swabs.

He however revealed that results of the tests would be known today. “There were one or two players with minor flu but I don’t think it’s anything serious and everybody is alright. We will all know today,” John said.

Members of the unsuccessful team which returned home winless — following a 7-0 drubbing to hosts Mexico and 3-0 losses to Costa Rica and Guatemala spent the night at the east hotel last night. “The players all just want to go home to their families because it has been a long tour. However we all have to respect the safety measures being taken,” John said.

Meanwhile a reliable source at the Ministry of Health explained that one of the mandatory tests that would have been done on the players on their return yesterday, would have been on samples taken from cotton swabs pushed down their throats.

He explained that from this test, medical personnel would be able to detect if the person has Swine Flu within three hours.

The Copa Airlines aircraft which brought the players home touched down promptly at 4 pm but the players were put on a bus approximately an hour and ten minutes after.

According to the source who wished to remain anonymous, further tests would be carried out today, but he made it clear that it will not be over, as the players would still have to undergo monitoring for the next seven days.

Other checks he said would be made to determine if any player had the flu or cough and was experiencing any symptoms of the Swine Flu.

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