Respiratory and facial protection: a critical review of recent literature

J Hosp Infect. 2013 Nov;85(3):165-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2013.07.011. Epub 2013 Sep 10.


Infectious micro-organisms may be transmitted by a variety of routes. This is dependent on the particular pathogen and includes bloodborne, droplet, airborne, and contact transmission. Some micro-organisms are spread by more than one route. Respiratory and facial protection is required for those organisms which are usually transmitted via the droplet and/or airborne routes or when airborne particles have been created during 'aerosol-generating procedures'. This article presents a critical review of the recently published literature in this area that was undertaken by Health Protection Scotland and the Healthcare Infection Society and which informed the development of guidance on the use of respiratory and facial protection equipment by healthcare workers.

Keywords: Aerosols; Infection control; Micro-organisms; Protective equipment; Transmission.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Masks* / statistics & numerical data
  • Respiratory Protective Devices* / statistics & numerical data