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Public shows little fear of flu pandemic

Only one in ten Swiss has bothered to stock up on protective masks to be used in the event of a flu pandemic, according to a Federal Health Office poll.

The survey showed that most residents do not intend to buy masks. Around half of the 1,011 respondents said they considered a pandemic unlikely, while a third questioned the value of such a measure.

The health office issued personal hygiene recommendations last year. Besides stocking up on masks, these include regular washing of hands with soap, using a paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and avoiding handshakes.

The authorities are warning that the risk of a flu epidemic is much higher than a few years ago and that a virus could mutate at any time.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR