CNN Issues Bird Flu Coverage Safety Advice
CNN has issued its staff worldwide with guidance on how to help protect themselves while covering an outbreak of bird flu.
The global news organisation, a member of INSI, has agreed to share its advice for the benefit of all in the news business who might encounter these risks.
We suggest you read this in conjunction with the earlier advisory from INSI on our website, and regularly track the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)website.
Understanding H5N1 Avian (Bird) Influenza – Be Informed:
Visit CDC's Travelers’ Health Web page on Southeast Asia at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/seasia.htm to educate yourself about bird flu or any disease risks and CDC health recommendations as they relate to international residency or travel.
For a list of affected areas and other information about avian influenza, see this website: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/index.htm
While currently there is no effective vaccine against bird flu, you can take some steps that will put you at a lower risk of infection.
Be sure you are up to date with all your standard vaccinations and see your doctor or health-care provider to get any additional medications or information you may need.
Assemble a home/travel health kit containing basic first aid and medical supplies. Be sure to include a thermometer and alcohol-based hand gel for hygiene.
It is advisable to identify nearby health-care resources where you live or, if on assignment, in the country of your assignment.
Avoid all direct contact with poultry, including touching any sick, or dead chickens, ducks or other birds, even if they look normal. Avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live poultry are raised or kept, and avoid handling surfaces contaminated with poultry feces or secretions.
As with other infectious illnesses, one of the most important preventive practices is careful and frequent hand washing. Cleaning your hands often with soap and water removes potentially infectious material from your skin and helps prevent disease transmission. Waterless alcohol-based hand gels may be used when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled. Influenza viruses are destroyed by heat; therefore, as a precaution, all foods from poultry, including eggs and poultry blood, should be thoroughly cooked.
If flu-type symptoms develop, take action and seek medical help.
If you are living in a country where bird flu has been identified, it is important to know bird flu has similar symptoms to that of other types of flu in the early stages. If you become sick with symptoms such as a fever, difficulty breathing, or cough you should not hesitate to seek medical attention at the nearest health care facility available to you.
If you have traveled to a region where bird flu has been identified, you should be especially aware of your health for a period of 10 days after your return. If you become ill with fever and develop a cough or difficulty breathing or if you develop any illness during this period, you should take quick action to determine the nature of your symptoms. Seek medical care at the nearest facility.