Cheaper is Just as Good

Speaking of H1N1 (again, sorry), a study in JAMA compares the efficacy of N95 masks versus surgical masks. Guess what?

Our data show that the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza was similar in nurses wearing the surgical mask and those wearing the N95 respirator. Surgical masks had an estimated efficacy within 1% of N95 respirators. Based on the prespecified definition, the lower CI for the difference in effectiveness of the surgical mask and N95 mask was within –9% and the statistical criterion of noninferiority was met. That is, surgical masks appeared to be no worse, within a prespecified margin, than N95 respirators in preventing influenza.

I don’t imagine manufacturers of (those costly) N95 masks are very happy about this. Just wait for the counter-study. And the wails of complaint and refutation.


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  1. #1 by N95 Respirator on Thursday 15 April 2010 - 0255

    Thank you for your sharing. I get some ideas by your article.
    This Flu season I will use N95 Particulate Respirator Mask to protective against Influenza.

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