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Infectious micro-organisms may be transmitted by a variety of routes, and some may be spread by more than one route. Respiratory and facial protection is required for those organisms that are usually transmitted via the droplet/airborne route, or when airborne particles have been artificially created, such as during 'aerosol-generating procedures'. A range of personal protective equipment that provides different degrees of facial and respiratory protection is available. It is apparent from the recent experiences with severe acute respiratory syndrome and pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza that healthcare workers may have difficulty in choosing the correct type of facial and respiratory protection in any given clinical situation. To address this issue, the Scientific Development Committee of the Healthcare Infection Society established a short-life working group to develop guidance. The guidance is based upon a review of the literature, which is published separately, and expert consensus.

Original publication




Journal article


J Hosp Infect

Publication Date





170 - 182


Aerosol-generating procedure, Airborne transmission, Droplet transmission, Facial protection equipment, Filtering face piece, Personal protective equipment, Respiratory infection, Respiratory protection equipment, Communicable Diseases, Humans, Infection Control, Masks, Respiratory Protective Devices