of infection in both the healthcare and community environments. Respiratory protection is the last resort to control infectious spread. As has been stated throughout this report, many factors will influence the effectiveness of respiratory protection used by both healthcare workers and the public to mitigate potential infection in the event of an influenza pandemic. Experience with previous efforts to improve infection control in the hospital and elsewhere have demonstrated that the efficacy of an intervention alone does not guarantee its success. The best respirator or medical mask will do little to protect the individual who refuses, or misunderstands how and when, to use it correctly. Any public health effort aimed at extending the usefulness of existing devices must be delivered with clarity and truthfulness. The public is likely to forgive lack of knowledge but will not be willing to trust public health officials in the next instance if they have in any way been misinformed or misled.


CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 2003. Interim Domestic Guidance on the Use of Respirators to Prevent Transmission of SARS. [Online]. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/respirators.htm [accessed January 23, 2006].

DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services). 2005. HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan. Washington, DC: DHHS.

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