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June 1981

Nosocomial Respiratory Syncytial Viral Infections: Should Gowns and Masks Be Used?

Author Affiliations

From the Infectious Diseases Unit, Departments of Pediatrics (Dr Hall) and Medicine (Drs Hall and Douglas), University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Am J Dis Child. 1981;135(6):512-515. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1981.02130300012006

• The efficacy of infection control procedures utilizing gowns and masks in the control of nosocomial respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections was evaluated by comparing the rate of nosocomial RSV infections in infants and ward personnel during two sequential periods when gowns and masks were used (period 1) and not used (period 2). All patients (162) and staff (36) on our infants' ward were examined for signs of respiratory infection and had nasal washes obtained for viral isolation every two to four days for two months. Nosocomial RSV infection was identified in a total of 19 infants. Eight of these occurred in period 1 for a nosocomial infection rate of 32% of contact infants who were hospitalized for seven or more days. In comparison, 11 (41%) of the contact infants hospitalized for seven or more days in period 2 became infected. These findings suggest that the additional routine use of masks and gowns does not result in measurable benefit in controlling the nosocomial spread of RSV infection to infants or to ward personnel.

(Am J Dis Child 1981;135:512-515)

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