Hong Kong public were urged on Tuesday to keep good personal and environmental hygiene to protect against pandemic influenza.
The call was made by Chairman of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (SCEZD) of the Center for Health Protection, Yuen Kwok-yung at a media briefing.
"Washing hands is the most important weapon we have in combating the virus," he said.
Yuen emphasized that using anti-viral without doctors' professional advice would greatly increase the chance of anti-viral resistance emerging from the virus.
He explained that currently available influenza vaccines could not prevent avian flu. However, they could reduce the chance of complications and hospitalization arising from ordinary human influenza among certain high-risk groups, such as the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.
The professor said when a pandemic arrived, it might not be possible to totally eliminate the risk of infection. However, people could reduce the risk considerably if they could maintain a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene.
(Xinhua News Agency October 26, 2005)