CDC and SHEA disagree on use of masks by healthcare workers

Centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) updated their H1N1 infection control measures for healthcare workers. This does differ though just slightly from the position of The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) in that CDC does recommend continuing use of N95 particulate masks when caring for patients with H1N1. Whereas SHEA supports the more traditional use of surgical masks as has been for seasonal influenza.

A study from Ontario, Canada published in the Oct 1, 2009 edition of Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) did show equivalence of N95 with surgical masks. link

This does put hospitals in a bit of a difficult position. I do agree that considering the volume of patients with suspected H1N1 that are coming into the hospitals that it would not be practical to use our N95 for all patients, we would simply run out.
CDC position
SHEA postion

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