Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by aerosols, the rational use of masks, and protection of healthcare workers from COVID-19.

Sommerstein, Rami; Fux, Christoph Andreas; Vuichard-Gysin, Danielle; Abbas, Mohamed; Marschall, Jonas; Balmelli, Carlo; Troillet, Nicolas; Harbarth, Stephan; Schlegel, Matthias; Widmer, Andreas (2020). Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by aerosols, the rational use of masks, and protection of healthcare workers from COVID-19. Antimicrobial resistance and infection control, 9(1), p. 100. BioMed Central 10.1186/s13756-020-00763-0

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OBJECTIVES

To determine the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by aerosols, to provide evidence on the rational use of masks, and to discuss additional measures important for the protection of healthcare workers from COVID-19.

METHODS

Literature review and expert opinion.

SHORT CONCLUSION

SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing COVID-19, is considered to be transmitted via droplets rather than aerosols, but droplets with strong directional airflow support may spread further than 2 m. High rates of COVID-19 infections in healthcare-workers (HCWs) have been reported from several countries. Respirators such as filtering face piece (FFP) 2 masks were designed to protect HCWs, while surgical masks were originally intended to protect patients (e.g., during surgery). Nevertheless, high quality standard surgical masks (type II/IIR according to European Norm EN 14683) appear to be as effective as FFP2 masks in preventing droplet-associated viral infections of HCWs as reported from influenza or SARS. So far, no head-to-head trials with these masks have been published for COVID-19. Neither mask type completely prevents transmission, which may be due to inappropriate handling and alternative transmission pathways. Therefore, compliance with a bundle of infection control measures including thorough hand hygiene is key. During high-risk procedures, both droplets and aerosols may be produced, reason why respirators are indicated for these interventions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Sommerstein, Rami and Marschall, Jonas

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

2047-2994

Publisher:

BioMed Central

Language:

English

Submitter:

Annelies Luginbühl

Date Deposited:

14 Jul 2020 08:03

Last Modified:

26 Jul 2020 00:56

Publisher DOI:

10.1186/s13756-020-00763-0

PubMed ID:

32631450

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Aerosol COVID-19 Droplet Infection control Mask SARS-CoV-2 Transmission

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.145140

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/145140

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