PORTLAND, Ore. — A Washington county public health department is requiring firefighters and paramedics to wear flu masks during all patient-care calls and in-hospital visits in response to flu threats.

The mandate began Jan. 18 and will be in effect until further notice.

Clark County Fire District EMS Training Captain Eric Simukka who has worked in the field for more than 20 years says it’s the first time he has seen a mandate of this kind.

Simukka says all firefighters and paramedics will be required to wear a mask whether they have gotten a flu shot or not.

KATU-TV reports positive flu tests have skyrocketed in Clark County north of Portland.

The droplet flu mask prevents the spread of airborne viruses through coughing, sneezing or breathing.

Information from: KATU-TV, http://www.katu.com/

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