Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
[Online ahead of print]

Effectiveness of N95 Respirators Versus Surgical Masks Against Influenza: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Affiliations

Effectiveness of N95 Respirators Versus Surgical Masks Against Influenza: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Youlin Long et al. J Evid Based Med.

Abstract

Objective: Previous meta-analyses concluded that there was insufficient evidence to determine the effect of N95 respirators. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks for prevention of influenza by collecting randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods: We searched PubMed, EMbase and The Cochrane Library from the inception to January 27, 2020 to identify relevant systematic reviews. The RCTs included in systematic reviews were identified. Then we searched the latest published RCTs from the above three databases and searched ClinicalTrials.gov for unpublished RCTs. Two reviewers independently extracted the data and assessed risk of bias. Meta-analyses were conducted to calculate pooled estimates by using RevMan 5.3 software.

Results: A total of six RCTs involving 9 171 participants were included. There were no statistically significant differences in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza (RR = 1.09, 95% CI 0.92-1.28, P > .05), laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infections (RR = 0.89, 95% CI 0.70-1.11), laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection (RR = 0.74, 95% CI 0.42-1.29) and influenzalike illness (RR = 0.61, 95% CI 0.33-1.14) using N95 respirators and surgical masks. Meta-analysis indicated a protective effect of N95 respirators against laboratory-confirmed bacterial colonization (RR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.43-0.78).

Conclusion: The use of N95 respirators compared with surgical masks is not associated with a lower risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza. It suggests that N95 respirators should not be recommended for general public and nonhigh-risk medical staff those are not in close contact with influenza patients or suspected patients.

Keywords: N95 respirator; influenza; masks; respiratory protective devices; respiratory tract infections; surgical mask.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

References

REFERENCES

    1. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan. China Lancet. 2020;S0140-6736(20):30183-30185.
    1. Jefferson T, Del Mar CB, Dooley L, et al. Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011(7):CD006207.
    1. Chen X, Chughtai AA, MacIntyre CR. Herd protection effect of N95 respirators in healthcare workers. J Int Med Res. 2017;45(6):1760-1767.
    1. Janssen L, Ettinger H, Graham S, Shaffer R, Zhuang Z. The use of respirators to reduce inhalation of airborne biological agents. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2013;10(8):D97-d103.
    1. Zhiqing L, Yongyun C, Wenxiang C, et al. Surgical masks as source of bacterial contamination during operative procedures. J Orthop Translat. 2018;14:57-62.

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback