Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ottawa advises travellers to see a doctor about flu precautions

Canadians planning to travel to countries affected by avian flu, including parts of Asia and eastern Europe, should consider seeing their doctor to discuss precautions, says the Public Health Agency of Canada.

There is no available vaccine for avian flu H5N1, but the anti-viral drug Tamiflu may be effective in treating the virus, the agency says in an online travel advisory.

The agency adds that since Tamiflu may not be readily available overseas, Canadians interested in getting the drug should see their doctor before travelling.

As to whether someone should begin taking the drug before departure, the advisory says: "The risk of exposure to the virus and the decision to take a drug such as Tamiflu that has not been proven to prevent human H5N1 infections must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Only you and your health care provider can determine that risk and the most appropriate precautions."

Vancouver Sun

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