[Recommendations for personal respiratory protection in tuberculosis]

Pneumologie. 2004 Feb;58(2):92-102. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-812527.
[Article in German]


These recommendations of the German Central Committee against Tuberculosis give an overview of the current scientific knowledge on the tuberculosis risk of health service employees and on the risk of infection in individual areas of work. The efficacy of face masks and their benefit in tuberculosis control is discussed. There are no reliable data on the efficacy of face masks in preventing infection with M. tuberculosis, nor can such data be expected in the near future, due to the complex interaction of infection-preventing measures. As rapid case finding, isolation, and immediate, effective treatment of infected patients already greatly diminish the risk of transmission, we consider face masks to be of limited use in reducing this risk. However, they may be beneficial in certain areas of work and in certain situations, particularly in the presence of elevated aerosol concentrations. The benefit of face masks depends largely on their correct application. The choice of a particular type of mask requires knowledge of the current epidemiological situation, and a competent assessment of the risk in the area of work for which it is chosen, taking into account the closeness of contact with potentially infectious tuberculosis patients.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Germany
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Protective Devices
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / transmission