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Metro Takes Some Precautions Against Swine Flu

We still have no cases of swine flu in this region, but many transit users are asking what Metro is doing, or what they should do. It came up several times during my online discussion on Monday.

So Metro today put out an advisory addressing those concerns. "Riding Metro is safe and it's something I do daily," Metro GM John B. Catoe Jr. said in the advisory. "However, Metro is taking precautions to keep riders and employees safe, and I'm being extra careful too before and after boarding a bus or train."

What You Can Do
The advice from transit officials is pretty basic hygiene and includes practices that would apply any day to any rider: Wash hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth. Carry tissues, hand-sanitizing gels or disinfecting wipes.

If you follow those guidelines, you're helping to protect your fellow passengers as well as yourself. (See more on our site's Swine Flu page.)

What Metro Is Doing
Metro says it has been preparing a safety plan for a pandemic flu since 2006. Now, it has set up an internal swine flu task force, engaging in tabletop exercises on how to respond in case of a swine flu outbreak in the Washington region. (See what other local officials are saying.)

The traditional winter flu season is over, but the transit authority says it is continuing a normal virus-fighting practice: A hospital-grade disinfectant is used to wipe down surfaces throughout the transit system.

Metro has a million riders a day on the trains and buses. Think of how many times you grip a railing or pole or touch a seat. That's why what you do and what Metro does are so important in combination.

The transit authority says it also is participating in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conference calls to get the latest information and recommendations. It has distributed a notice to its 10,000 employees reminding them to protect themselves from contracting or spreading the flu.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 28, 2009; 4:35 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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"Think of how many times you grip a railing or pole or touch a seat."

Also, think of how many OTHER people gripped that railing or pole or touched that seat, then think about where their hands may have been and the number of people you see failing to wash their hands after using the toilet, picking their noses, etc....yuk! If that doesn't get you to wash your hands, then I don't know what will.

Posted by: 1995hoo | April 29, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

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