Fight or flight: dealing with bird flu

Fight or flight: dealing with bird flu

The avian influenza (H5N1), dubbed bird flu, has caused some panic in the European Union with 14 countries affected by the highly infectious strain. The disease has led to the slaughter of 63 000 broiler hens in Denmark, with countries such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom (UK) also affected. More worryingly, this particular strain also infects people.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), a total of 77 countries identified avian influenza in their poultry between January 2014 and November 2016. South Africa had a series of low-infectious avian influenza outbreaks in October 2016. The strain H7N2 affected a commercial ostrich farm in the Western Cape.

There are 13 strains of bird flu. Most affect only poultry, but some, such as the H5N1 virus, also infect people. Humans are most commonly infected after directly handling infected poultry, or through consumption of uncooked poultry products. Severe infection usually leads to pneumonia in both lungs. Around 60 percent of avian influenza patients die, mainly from respiratory failure.

Scott Safety offers assistance in the fight against avian influenza with its Duraflow Powered Air respiratory protection system – which it is now shipping to Denmark to aid in the fight against the outbreak of bird flu.

The respirator is lightweight with an ergonomic design. It offers protection against viruses, bacteria and other micro-organisms. It is designed to be fully compatible with other personal protective equipment and provides P3 particle filtration. This is an obligatory filtration level to protect against viral infections, according to the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Duraflow is equipped with sophisticated real-time air-flow control technology and is highly versatile. It is ideal for people involved in clean-up and clearance operations, or individuals concerned about contact and infection.

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