Current Evidence for Infection Prevention and Control Interventions in Emergency Medical Services: A Scoping Review

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2023 Jun;38(3):371-377. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X23000389. Epub 2023 Mar 29.


Objectives: The aim of this review was to summarize current evidence from the United States on the effectiveness of practices and interventions for preventing, recognizing, and controlling occupationally acquired infectious diseases in Emergency Medical Service (EMS) clinicians.

Report and methods: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and SCOPUS were searched from January 1, 2006 through March 15, 2022 for studies in the United States that involved EMS clinicians and firefighters, reported on one or more workplace practices or interventions that prevented or controlled infectious diseases, and included outcome measures. Eleven (11) observational studies reported on infection prevention and control (IPC) practices providing evidence that hand hygiene, standard precautions, mandatory vaccine policies, and on-site vaccine clinics are effective. Less frequent handwashing (survey-weight adjusted odds ratio [OR] 4.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 17.27) and less frequent hand hygiene after glove use (survey-weight adjusted OR 10.51; 95% CI, 2.54 to 43.45) were positively correlated with nasal colonization of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) or PPE breach were correlated with higher severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seropositivity (unadjusted risk ratio [RR] 4.2; 95% CI, 1.03 to 17.22). Workers were more likely to be vaccinated against influenza if their employer offered the vaccine (unadjusted OR 3.3; 95% CI, 1.3 to 8.3). Active, targeted education modules for H1N1 influenza were effective at increasing vaccination rates and the success of on-site vaccine clinics.

Conclusions: Evidence from the United States exists on the effectiveness of IPC practices in EMS clinicians, including hand hygiene, standard precautions, mandatory vaccine policies, and vaccine clinics. More research is needed on the effectiveness of PPE and vaccine acceptance.

Keywords: Emergency Medical Services; infection control; occupational exposure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza, Human* / prevention & control
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus*
  • SARS-CoV-2