2004S-0212 - Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan
FDA Comment Number : EC6
Submitter : Ms. Kathleen LeDell Date & Time: 10/08/2004 04:10:08
Organization : Minnesota Department of Health
Health Professional
Category :
Issue Areas/Comments
My comment relates to Annex 8, section B, recommended inlfuenza precautions in health care settings, page 4: The guidance states that health care personnel should wear a surgical mask when entering the room of a patient with known or suspected influenza.

I strongly disagree with the recommendation of a surgical mask for health care workers caring for influenza patients. Surgical masks are not adequate PPE for airborne infections. Even though influenza is primarily spread via droplet, even this document acknowledges that there may also be airborne spread. I think most experts would agree that influenza is more infectious than SARS and it does not seem reasonable to recommend a lower level of protection for pandemic influenza, which is likely to be at least as deadly as SARS. I think that an N95 respirator or PAPR should be recommended, at least in the initial stages of a pandemic and while supplies last. Thank you for allowing me to comment.