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PPE equipment given low priority in UK bird flu plansPosted on 18/09/2006

The UK government has announced it is to step up testing in what it perceives to be high-risk areas for bird flu as winter approaches.

Only one case of the H5N1 strain, which is lethal to humans, has been found in Britain but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has decided to target particular breeds such as ducks, geese, swans, gulls and waders as well as the most vulnerable locations.

While Defra officials and others dealing with dead birds will be equipped with personal protective equipment, the widespread provision of such items to the public will only be provided in the event of a full pandemic.

The document said the Department of Health would do this "if required", according to the UK contingency plan published earlier this year.

Instead the document concentrated at length on vaccination and antiviral treatment.

The document said that flu spreads more easily than Sars, against which a large number of people wore protective respiratory equipment.

According to World Health Organisation figures, 143 people have died from H5N1, all of which were in the far east.

track© Adfero Ltd

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