London, October 5 (ANI): People in Britain take fewer basic hygiene precautions against catching flu as compared to those in America, Mexico, Japan and Argentina, doctors have revealed.
In fact, experts say that they are so cavalier about spreading or getting the illness that the country could be left wide open to an epidemic.
The warning comes after an international survey showed how individuals in the UK fail to follow simple rules like washing their hands and sneezing into a tissue.
Just one in five tried to keep away from people with flu-like symptoms and fewer avoided shopping centres or sporting events during the flu season.
For the study, researchers carried out surveys in the UK, US, Argentina, Japan and Mexico soon after the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.
In each country, around 900 people were asked how they had modified their behaviour when there was a risk of catching the virus.
People from Britain consistently had the most careless attitude.
Flu expert Professor John Oxford, a virologist at the University of London, said that the results of the survey by the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, were 'terribly disappointing'.
"We have a lot to learn about avoiding infection," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
"One explanation is that we've become complacent because we think drugs will always be available but it's very likely we will get a novel infection at some stage when it will be critical to do these basic things to stop us getting it," he said.
The study has been published in The Lancet. (ANI)