Method for evaluating the relative efficiency of selected n95 respirators and surgical masks to prevent the inhalation of airborne vegetative cells by Healthcare personnel

Craig Davidson, Christopher F. Green, Adelisa L. Panlilio, Paul A. Jensen, Beth H. Stover, Gary Roselle, Shawn G Gibbs, Pasquale V. Scarpino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aerosol droplet- and airborne-transmitted diseases are an important healthcare concern. The anthrax attacks of 2001, severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreaks in 2003 which resulted in transmission to numerous healthcare personnel (HCP) and concerns about smallpox as a bioterrorist agent have contributed to heightened concern about airborne infectious agents. Respirators and surgical masks can provide respiratory protection against such airborne diseases but their efficacy needs to be assessed. This study describes a method for quantitatively assessing the relative efficiency of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) when challenged with a bioaerosol. Five surgical masks, three N95 respirators and three surgical N95 respirators were evaluated. All are commercially available and used in US healthcare settings. Bacterial aerosols of vegetative Bacillus anthracis strain Sterne 34F2 (a surrogate for pathogenic B. anthracis) were generated with a six-jet Collison nebuliser. To mimic human respiratory breathing, an automated breathing simulator (ABS) calibrated to normal tidal volume and active breathing rate (500mL/breath and 20 breath/min, respectively) was used. Respirators were placed on manikin head-forms designed for use in cardiopulmonary resuscitation training and used in our investigation as surrogates for HCP. The method showed that a Collison nebuliser could generate monodisperse bacterial aerosol to effectively test RPE total inward leakage. Also, the AGI-30 air samplers, combined with the ABS, provided an accurate method of quantifying RPE relative effi-ciency. For the 11 RPE this ranged from 34% to 69% with statistically significant differences between several RPE models. We conclude that neither RPE type nor brand name was an indicator of RPE relative efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-277
Number of pages13
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

Fingerprint

Mechanical Ventilators
Masks
Inhalation
Delivery of Health Care
Equipment and Supplies
Respiration
Aerosols
Bacillus anthracis
Nebulizers and Vaporizers
Manikins
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Anthrax
Smallpox
Tidal Volume
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
Names
Disease Outbreaks
Air
Head

Keywords

  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Bioaerosol
  • Healthcare personnel
  • Respiratory protective equipment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Method for evaluating the relative efficiency of selected n95 respirators and surgical masks to prevent the inhalation of airborne vegetative cells by Healthcare personnel. / Davidson, Craig; Green, Christopher F.; Panlilio, Adelisa L.; Jensen, Paul A.; Stover, Beth H.; Roselle, Gary; Gibbs, Shawn G; Scarpino, Pasquale V.

In: Indoor and Built Environment, Vol. 20, No. 2, 01.04.2011, p. 265-277.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Davidson, Craig ; Green, Christopher F. ; Panlilio, Adelisa L. ; Jensen, Paul A. ; Stover, Beth H. ; Roselle, Gary ; Gibbs, Shawn G ; Scarpino, Pasquale V. / Method for evaluating the relative efficiency of selected n95 respirators and surgical masks to prevent the inhalation of airborne vegetative cells by Healthcare personnel. In: Indoor and Built Environment. 2011 ; Vol. 20, No. 2. pp. 265-277.
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