A CDC report links instances of patient-to-healthcare professional (HCP) infection of novel influenza H1N1  to improper personal protective equipment (PPE) usage.
Though covering only a small number of potential or probable causes of infection, “Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infections Among Health-Care Personnel — United States, April–May 2009” states: “Most of the probable or possible patient-to-HCP transmissions in this report occurred in situations where the use of PPE was not in accordance with CDC recommendations.”
The report, which appears in the June 19 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report analyzes healthcare worker usage of gloves, surgical masks, N95 respirators, and eye protection when caring for flu patients. It also examines worker characteristics and facility types. Here are some of the highlights.
- Among 11 infected workers, only three used either a surgical mask or N95 respirator at all times.
- Among those three workers was a physician who always wore an N95 respirator but was not fit tested for it.
- Of the reported infections, 20% were registered nurses, followed by 16% both nursing assistants and physicians.
- More healthcare worker infections occurred in outpatient or ambulatory settings than in inpatient settings.
- Despite being at a higher risk, no evidence suggests that healthcare workers are overrepresented among reported cases of persons infected with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus in the United States.
“These results highlight the need to maintain adherence to comprehensive infection-control strategies to prevent transmission of novel H1N1 in health-care settings,” the report concludes.
Any surprises here—not wearing PPE, not fit testing for respirators, more report of wokrer infections in ambulatory than inpatient settings? Let us know in the comment section below.