As new data about influenza transmission and concerns about potential shortages of some protective equipment have emerged, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guideline to help protect clinicians from infection with the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) virus.
Among the changes are more detailed strategies for reducing clinician exposure to influenza in hospitals, a reduction in the amount of time clinicians are advised to wait to return to work after an influenzalike illness, and strategies for stretching the supply of N95 respirators in case of shortages (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidelines_infection_control.htm). The changes come on the heels of data published in this issue of JAMA and released online on October 1 that suggest surgical masks may provide as much protection as the respirators (Loeb et al. JAMA. 2009;302:1865-1871).
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New data suggesting that N95 respirators and surgical masks may provide similar protection against influenza has led to a revision in recommendations for clinicians.
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