Use of medical face masks versus particulate respirators as a component of personal protective equipment for health care workers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Conly, John, Seto, W. H., Pittet, Didier, Holmes, Alison, Chu, May, Hunter, Paul R. and , WHO Infection Prevention and Control Research and Development Ex (2020) Use of medical face masks versus particulate respirators as a component of personal protective equipment for health care workers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 9. ISSN 2047-2994

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Abstract

Currently available evidence supports that the predominant route of human-to-human transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 is through respiratory droplets and/or contact routes. The report by the World Health Organization (WHO) Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China supports person-to-person droplet and fomite transmission during close unprotected contact with the vast majority of the investigated infection clusters occurring within families, with a household secondary attack rate varying between 3 and 10%, a finding that is not consistent with airborne transmission. The reproduction number (R0) for the SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be between 2.2–2.7, compatible with other respiratory viruses associated with a droplet/contact mode of transmission and very different than an airborne virus like measles with a R0 widely cited to be between 12 and 18. Based on the scientific evidence accumulated to date, our view is that SARS-CoV-2 is not spread by the airborne route to any significant extent and the use of particulate respirators offers no advantage over medical masks as a component of personal protective equipment for the routine care of patients with COVID-19 in the health care setting. Moreover, prolonged use of particulate respirators may result in unintended harms. In conjunction with appropriate hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE) used by health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19 must be used with attention to detail and precision of execution to prevent lapses in adherence and active failures in the donning and doffing of the PPE.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: There is a correction to this article which relates solely to the ifnroamtion for correspondence; the body of the article is not affected. See: 10.1186/s13756-020-00810-w "After publication of this article [1], the author reported that the institutional author “Expert Group” name in both the authorship list and the Competing Interests section should be corrected to: ‘WHO Infection Prevention and Control Research and Development Expert Group for COVID-19’."
Uncontrolled Keywords: airborne,contact,covid-19,droplet,infection prevention,medical mask,n95 respirator,sars-cov-2,transmission,public health, environmental and occupational health,microbiology (medical),infectious diseases,pharmacology (medical),sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2739
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2022 16:30
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2022 01:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/83780
DOI: 10.1186/s13756-020-00779-6

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