Interim domestic guidance on the use of respirators to prevent transmission of SARS
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Interim domestic guidance on the use of respirators to prevent transmission of SARS

Filetype[PDF-807.97 KB]

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      Saturday, April 19, 2003, 15:35 EDT (3:35 PM EDT)


      Health-care workers caring for patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are at risk for acquiring SARS. Although the infectivity of SARS is currently uncertain, transmission to health-care workers appears to have occurred after close contact with symptomatic individuals (e.g., persons with fever or respiratory symptoms), particularly before implementation of recommended infection control precautions for SARS (i.e., unprotected exposures). Personal protective equipment appropriate for standard, contact, and airborne precautions (e.g., hand hygiene, gown, gloves, and N95 respirators) in addition to eye protection, have been recommended for health-care workers to prevent transmission of SARS in health-care settings (see ).

      The transmission of SARS appears to occur predominantly by direct contact with infectious material, including dispersal of large respiratory droplets. However, it is also possible that SARS can be spread through the airborne route. Accordingly, CDC has recommended the use of N95 respirators, consistent with respiratory protection for airborne diseases, such as tuberculosis.

      SARS, unlike tuberculosis, also appears to spread by direct contact with respiratory secretions, which makes touching contaminated objects a potential concern. Although reaerosolization of infectious material is unlikely under normal use conditions, infectious material deposited on a respirator may cause it to become a vehicle for direct or indirect transmission. Therefore, additional infection control measures applicable to this specific situation are needed.

      This interim guidance provides information on the selection and handling of respirators for SARS and includes guidance for when respirators are either not available or in short supply.

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