Background

A major concern among healthcare experts is a projected shortage of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) during an influenza pandemic. One option for mitigating an FFR shortage is to decontaminate and reuse the devices. Many parameters must be evaluated to verify the effectiveness of this strategy: biocidal efficacy, filtration performance, pressure drop, fit, and residual toxicity. The focus of this research effort was to evaluate the ability of microwave/steam energy, low-temperature moist heat, and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation at 254 nm to decontaminate H1N1 influenza virus loaded onto FFRs as either aerosols or droplets. Our data indicate that all three decontamination technologies provide > 4-log reduction of viable H1N1 virus –in 93% of our experiments, the virus was removed to levels below the method detection limit. These data are encouraging and may contribute to the evolution of effective strategies for decontamination and reuse of FFRs.

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A Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Study: Use of Energetic Methods to Decontaminate Filtering Facepiece Respirators Contaminated with H1N1 Aerosols and Droplets, June 2012 [11 Pages, 1MB]

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