Masks not top flu fighter

Apr 28, 2006

As the discussion over a bird flu pandemic increases, U.S. health experts say surgical masks and similar devices will be of little help.

The 12-member panel issued a report Thursday, requested by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Washington Post reports.

It a telephone press conference, panel member Dr. John C. Bailar said, "I would not recommend that anyone using a mask think that is adequate protection."

He said masks are part of an overall response to a flu pandemic, which includes vaccines, placing patients in quarantine and shutting down open places like schools.

The various types of masks may be helpful in preventing sick people from breathing the virus into the air and healthy people from inhaling it.

Options include the general surgical masks, made of a cloth-like material covering the nose and mouth with straps that go around the head.

Then there are more advanced, form-fitting respirators that are better filters but cost much more.

Health experts fear the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu that has killed more than 100 people and millions of birds in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East will mutate into one more easily spread among humans.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Ebola has killed 61 in Guinea since January

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fear, anger and fatalism over swine flu in Mexico

Apr 25, 2009

(AP) -- The schools and museums are closed. Sold-out games between Mexico's most popular soccer teams are being played in empty stadiums. Health workers are ordering sickly passengers off subways and buses. ...

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

1 hour ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

1 hour ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

13 hours ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

Apr 18, 2014

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...