Health Advice to People Travelling to Countries Affected by H5N1

London, 2 March/GNN/ —

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2006/0081) issued by The Government News
Network on 2 March 2006
The Department of Health has today published public health information for people travelling to countries that have been affected by bird flu.

Although there is no H5N1 currently in the UK, cases of avian influenza are now occurring in poultry and wild birds in some parts of the world. The leaflet provides guidance on how to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus in a country affected by an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza, the symptoms of infection and what to do if a person thinks they may have been infected. Advice includes:

- do not visit bird or poultry farms and markets,
- avoid close contact with live or dead poultry,
- do not eat raw or poorly-cooked poultry or poultry products, including blood,
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer said:

“The information we are distributing today is to make sure that people travelling to countries affected by H5N1 have up-to-date health advice. H5N1 avian influenza is predominantly a disease of birds. The virus does not pass easily from birds to people and has not yet been shown to pass from person to person. Where people have been infected, it was as a result of close contact with infected poultry or birds. The virus has caused severe disease and a high proportion of people have died. H5N1 infections have not been reported in this country, but it is important that travellers from the UK have clear factual information to assist them.”

The leaflet will be available from GP surgeries, health centres, and English air and sea ports.

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