PPE response to bird flu tested
Americans are being quizzed on their preparedness to wear personal protection equipment such as face masks for extended periods of time in the event of a bird flu outbreak.
The questions are part of a study by Harvard University on interim measures that can be deployed until vaccines are available, the San Francisco Daily Bulletin reports.
It says the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is examining the plan, including the possibility of providing face masks to the public.
CDC quarantine chief, Dr Marty Cetron, was quoted as saying: 'We can't afford to neglect some of the traditional approaches to contagion control because we very well may find ourselves in a situation where that's all we've got for a period of time.'
Although opinion is divided on the effectiveness of quarantine measures, fellow CDC member David Bell said face masks did help during the Sars outbreak and might for Bird Flu as well.
Britain has so far only had one case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the type that is lethal to humans, but many more have been reported in Europe and parts of north Africa and Asia, from where many birds migrate to Britain.
A new human case of the strain has been detected today in Egypt.
Experts fear that if H5N1 mutates it could cause a pandemic, killing millions of people.
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