Many thanks to Michael C. for forwarding this article below on to me.
In the U.K., where the Bird Flu has suddenly appeared, N95 masks are at a premium.
Last week, I received an inquiry from Singapore on 1000 cases of 3M N95 masks.
I mention this as fair warning, folks ... if you plan to be acquiring protective masks in the near future, wait no longer. Although there is not a shortage of masks in the U.S. at the moment, that could change in a heartbeat. This is what preparedness is about--being a bit ahead of the curve.
February 04, 2007
NHS staff face year-long wait for safety masks
David Cracknell Political Editor
MINISTERS are considering stockpiling face masks for NHS staff, carers and even the general public to protect them in the event of bird flu mutating into a form that spreads to humans.
Anyone caring for the elderly, people infected with the disease or showing symptoms would be supplied with the disposable masks first.
But, according to minutes from the latest planning meeting, it is “unlikely” that ordered stocks will be ready until next year.
The Department of Health may also decide to order enough for the entire population, as the French government has done.
However, the minutes of last month’s meeting record that “the [department] would not be recommending the use of masks by the general public” at present because of the “limited science base” suggesting they will prevent further infection.
At the meeting concern was raised that this decision could provoke a backlash. “[Our communications strategy] will need careful preparation and handling, especially in view of the likelihood of our French neigh-bours wearing protection in public,” the document says.
It adds: “Abroad, it is France who has adopted a policy the most radically different. By the middle of 2007 the French will have stockpiled surgical masks to provide for their symptomatic and well general population during a pandemic.”
The latest plans come after the government has already drawn up an extensive strategy to cope with a major outbreak of bird flu, including burying the dead in “plague pits” and widespread closure of schools.
A confidential Home Office report has acknowledged that families may have to wait for four months to bury their dead. The paper said it was “prudent” to predict that as many as 320,000 people could die from the H5N1 strain of the virus if it mutates to humans.
Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com