Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yay! We're Getting Face Masks!

Million Pig Flu Masks on Way To Northern Ireland

More than one million protective face masks are to be delivered to Northern Ireland in the fight to contain the global outbreak of swine flu.

The Department of Health in England is stockpiling 32 million of the facemasks and around one million of those are to be delivered for use in the province if they are required.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety said: “The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety already has in its possession 3.6 million protective facemasks for use by healthcare workers and 240,000 special respiratory masks also for healthcare workers.”

Meanwhile, ten people who have been tested for swine flu in Northern Ireland have been given the all-clear while results were today pending on another possible case.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Liz Mitchell said she hoped to receive the last set of results by the end of today.

Eleven people across Northern Ireland have so far been tested for swine flu — all of which Dr Mitchell said had been to affected areas in recent weeks.

She reiterated advice to anyone suffering from flu-like symptoms and is worried that they may have contracted the virus, urging them to remain at home and contact their family GP to arrange a visit.

Dr Mitchell also stressed that the only fatal cases of swine flu have been in Mexico and people affected in other countries have recovered.

Plans were also being finalised today for the distribution of information leaflets to every household across Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey addressed the Assembly and spoke of the importance of high levels of hygiene in fighting the spread of swine flu.

He said: “I would again reiterate the simple but very effective things that everyone can do in these circumstances. Influenza spreads easily from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also spreads through hand to face contact if hands are contaminated.

“Therefore, good hygiene practices, frequent handwashing, and tissues to cover mouth and nose for coughs and sneezes will be the single most effective thing people can do to protect themselves.

“Individuals should listen carefully to government advice which will be made available via the media and distributed on printed material.”

Health officials across the globe are bracing themselves for the emergence of more suspected cases of the virus.

So far 152 people are thought to have been killed in Mexico by the virus.

-Lisa Smith, Belfast Telegraph

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