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Protective mask demand may rise as bird flu fears increasePosted on 04/09/2006

With the end of summer rapidly approaching, Britain may well face more fears of a bird flu outbreak, following news of fresh outbreaks around the world.

Over 100 dead ducks are being tested for H5N1 in Vietnam, in the heart of the south-east Asian region where the deadly strain has been most prominent.

Meanwhile, Xinhua People's Daily online reports that tests are being carried out in Egypt, where six people have died from the virus this year, on fowl suspected of having the H5N1 strain.

There have also been widespread reports of birds having the H5N1 strain in Pennsylvania.

Should the virus be recorded closer to Britain as was the case last year, the demand for protective measures is likely to increase, including anti-flu drugs and protective masks.

It is already possible to buy respiratory masks online as a precaution against airborne toxins, with UK: Survive stating that it has over 65,000 FFP2 masks available, which it says meet or exceed World Health Organisation recommended standards.

Respiratory masks have been used heavily in south-east Asia both against bird flu and Sars.

Experts fear that if the H5N1 strain mutates it could pass from human to human, causing a pandemic that could kill millions.


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