Disinfection of reusable elastomeric respirators by health care workers: A feasibility study and development of standard operating procedure

Published:September 23, 2015DOI:
      To the Editor:
      We thank the authors for their comments about disinfection of medical equipment with chlorine. In contrast with our work, they engaged a small number of staff in extensive training to prepare for safe handling of a small number of highly contagious patients with Ebola virus disease. They do not present their standard operating procedure, but they state that they used bleach solutions with a chlorine concentration of 5,000 ppm, as recommended by the World Health Organization. In contrast with their program, which relied on extensive training of personnel, our work was aimed at developing a standard operating procedure to be used in the event of a pandemic of respiratory illness, especially influenza. Anticipating a large surge of patients, and the possibility of very limited staffing caused by illness among health care workers, we aimed to develop a standard operating procedure that could be deployed with minimal training. We used chlorine concentrations of 50-400 ppm, as recommended by manufacturers of elastomeric respirators. The contrasts between the 2 programs illustrate the range of applications for standard operating procedures to address different clinical needs. We are pleased to learn of the success of their program.

      Linked Article

      • Disinfection of personal protective equipment for management of Ebola patients
        American Journal of Infection ControlVol. 43Issue 12
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          Bessesen et al highlight the potential utility of reusable elastomeric face masks to bypass the risk of N95 respirator shortages during a respiratory illness pandemic and stress the importance of efficacious disinfection to reuse facial protective equipment safely.1 We would like to take the opportunity to underline the need that awareness on personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks is included in any pandemic preparedness plan. The demand for PPE must be established on the basis of the health care facility's role, defined by public health authorities to create a coordinated network approach.
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