Surgical Mask vs N95 Respirator for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Workers: A Randomized

Source: Mark Loeb, Nancy Dafoe, James Mahony, Michael John, Alicia Sarabia, Verne Glavin, Richard Webby, Marek Smieja, David J. D. Earn, Sylvia Chong, Ashley Webb, Stephen D. Walter, Journal of the American Medical Association, published online, October 1, 2009

Data about the effectiveness of the surgical mask compared with the N95 respirator for protecting health care workers against influenza are sparse. Given the likelihood that N95 respirators will be in short supply during a pandemic and not available in many countries, knowing the effectiveness of the surgical mask is of public health importance. Among nurses in Ontario tertiary care hospitals, use of a surgical mask compared with an N95 respirator resulted in noninferior rates of laboratory-confirmed influenza.
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