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Bird collection: H5N1 protective measures

A study was recently published about H5N1 seroprevalence and the use of recommended protective measures amongst personnel tasked with bird collection.

Serological testing and regular training of personnel are advised, because the study revealed gaps and variability in adherence, which demonstrated the risk of exposure to avian influenza.

Investigations took place during the first outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza A/H5N1 in Germany, on the island of Ruegen between February and April 2006. Of the eligible personnel, consisting of firemen, government workers and veterinarians, 61% (97/154) participated in the study.

Personal protective equipment

Only 13% reported having always worn all personal protective equipment (PPE) during bird collection. The proportion of personnel always adherent to wearing PPE was lowest for masks.


There were no reports of influenza-like illness. Of the participants, 18% had received seasonal influenza vaccination prior to the outbreak. Five sera initially H5-reactive by PN assay were negative by WHO-CC confirmatory testing.

Authors: Wei Cai , Brunhilde Schweiger , Udo Buchholz , Silke Buda , Martina Littmann , Jorg Heusler and Walter Haas

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Complete article (PDF)

Natalie Berkhout

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