GPs sent “useless” guidance on coping with possible human cases of bird flu

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 08 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:275
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    GPs near the outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza at a turkey farm in Suffolk, in the east of England, have found the information they have been sent on how to deal with people presenting with symptoms “useless.” A key diagnostic algorithm is difficult to find and the guidance makes no provision for recommended infection control measures, such as the provision for surgical masks.

    In a letter sent to GPs in the area last Monday, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) explained that all the people potentially exposed to H5N1 in the outbreak had “been requested to contact their GP in the event that they experience fever and/or respiratory symptoms.”

    The letter told GPs to assess patients according to a flow chart on the agency's website ( This advises that people with fever ≥38°C; history of fever …

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