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April/May 2010 (vol. 06/6)

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Research Plus

Influenza face masks

A critical review of research on the use of surgical masks to protect healthcare workers from pandemic influenza queries current World Health Organization guidelines that recommend the use of standard surgical masks for all patient care, with the more efficient N95 respirators (equivalent to FFP2 masks in the UK) used for aerosol-generating procedures. The review examined 25 laboratory, and 21 human studies, but only six were of sufficient quality to evaluate their efficacy. A lack of high-quality research in healthcare settings led the review team, from the University of New South Wales, Australia, to conclude that the guidelines can neither be supported nor nullified at this stage.

Critical Care Medicine 2010; 38(2): 657–667.

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Occupational Health at Work April/May 2010 (vol. 06/6) pp48