Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Governments must be pulled up for failings over flu

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 15 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2019

Rapid Response:

The flu epidemic in Japan

The number of people in Japan confirmed to have contracted the new
strain of influenza A (swine flu) had reached over 200 as of Tuesday, 19
May. Although there is no evidence that wearing a facemask is effective to
protect themselves from flu among the general population, it is
interesting many Japanese people wear facemasks. Of course, facemasks
could help to reduce the spread of flu viruses when coughing. People
should cover their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and frequent
hand washing is recommended. I saw a man wearing a facemask at the smoking
area in the railway station. He took off the mask and lit a cigarette. I
think smoking is more dangerous than swine flu.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 May 2009
Hiroshi Kawane
Japanese Red Cross Hiroshima College of Nursing, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima, 738-0052, Japan