Objective: To identify priorities for further research in protecting healthcare workers (HCWs) from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and other respiratory pathogens by summarizing the basic science of infectious bioaerosols and the efficacy of facial protective equipment; the organizational, environmental, and individual factors that influence the success of infection control and occupational health programs; and factors identified by HCWs as important.
Method: An extensive literature review was conducted and 15 focus groups held, mostly with frontline HCWs in Toronto. Critical gaps in knowledge were identified and prioritized.
Results: Highest priority was given to organizational factors that create a climate of safety. Other priority areas included understanding aerosolization risks and practical measures to control bioaerosols at the source.
Conclusions: Further research is warranted to improve safety climate in health care and, specifically, to provide greater protection against respiratory pathogens.