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April 7, 1989

The Exposure of Health Care Workers to Ribavirin Aerosol

Author Affiliations

University of California San Francisco

University of California San Francisco

JAMA. 1989;261(13):1880-1881. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420130042015

To the Editor. —  We would like to report the experience at the University of California, San Francisco, with aerosolized ribavirin. Ribavirin is a virostatic agent approved for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants who do not require mechanical ventilation. While the drug currently is not approved for use in intubated patients, it has been administered via this route. However, considering the tendencies of the drug to crystallize in respiratory equipment, special care must be taken to ensure patency of the airway in these patients.1Morbidity and mortality secondary to RSV primarily occurs in premature infants and in those with underlying cardiopulmonary abnormalities.2 The early trials with ribavirin suggest subjective improvement in severity of illness. Some studies report improved arterial oxygen tension and a decrease in viral shedding in patients who receive ribavirin.3 The drug has not been found to alter the mortality associated