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WHO urges protective clothing for poultry workers
Updated: 2005-10-28 14:44

GENEVA - Poultry workers, cullers and veterinarians should wear special clothing and take antiviral drugs to protect them from bird flu, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

All those at "high risk of exposure," working on farms with bird flu outbreaks or at risk of them, should wear coveralls, rubber gloves, surgical masks, goggles and rubber boots, and could take an antiviral drug, it said.

"These measures are particularly important during veterinary investigations and extensive and urgent culling operations," the United Nations agency said in a statement posted on its site www.who.int .

Humans suspected of having caught the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu should be placed in immediate isolation, investigated, and checked for signs such as fever for 14 days, it added.

The WHO also urged countries to share samples and viruses isolated from infected humans with its network of laboratories to permit quick analysis and guide national disease control strategies.

The H5N1 strain has killed 62 people in four countries in Asia since re-emerging in 2003 and has recently been found among birds in Croatia, Romania, Turkey and Russia, but no human cases have been reported in Europe.

Experts fear the virus could spark an outbreak among humans if it mutates to allow human-to-human transmission, and the WHO says it has the potential to start an influenza pandemic.

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