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Friday, April 24, 2015

Health Care Workers' Hazard: Cloth Based Masked Face Masks

Infection in the workplace is now becoming a major concern as new epidemics of disease spread worldwide facilitated by the ever increasing global transportation network. The recent and urgent concerns over Flu, Ebola, Measles and Polio highlight the need to protect health workers.

A recent study published the British Medical Journal focuses on the inadequacy of current medical practices. The study of Clinical respiratory illness (CRI), influenza-like illness (ILI) and laboratory-confirmed the spread of respiratory virus infection and highlights the the problems with cloth face masks.

"We have provided the first clinical efficacy data of cloth masks, which suggest HCWs should not use cloth masks as protection against respiratory infection. Cloth masks resulted in significantly higher rates of infection than medical masks, and also performed worse than the control arm. The controls were HCWs who observed standard practice, which involved mask use in the majority, albeit with lower compliance than in the intervention arms. The control HCWs also used medical masks more often than cloth masks. When we analysed all mask-wearers including controls, the higher risk of cloth masks was seen for laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infection."

Click here to read the entire report.
"A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers"
BMJ Open 2015;5:e006577 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006577