Costa Rica’s National Animal Health Service (SENASA) this week began fumigating all aircraft entering the country as well as some flights leaving its international terminals in order to prevent the spread of animal disease across borders.
The measure is part of a public health program that seeks to establish a sanitary barrier to prevent the transmission of exotic diseases, especially those that can be transmitted from animals to humans, the agency stated.
SENASA hopes to avoid the entry here of West Nile Virus, equine encephalitis, yellow fever, bluetongue, which affects livestock, and other emerging diseases.
SENASA staff are fumigating the cargo area as well as baggage carried on all planes entering the country. They are also fumigating planes departing Costa Rica and flying to Mexico, Dominican Republic and all Central American countries. The process takes about five minutes and is not causing any flight delays, the agency reported.
SENASA Director Bernardo Jaén said vector-borne diseases, mainly those transmitted by insects, are currently of high concern to all international health agencies and are becoming an increasingly serious problem — economically and in terms of public and animal health — for several countries.
The cost of the fumigation, which ranges from ₡10,000 to ₡20,000 ($18.50 to $37) depending on the type of aircraft, will be charged to each airline, Jaén said.
SENASA will maintain round-the-clock fumigation staff at the country’s three international airports, Juan Santamaría (SJO), Daniel Oduber (LIR) and Tobías Bolaños (SYQ).