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America's Registered Nurses Applaud New Institute of Medicine H1N1/Swine Flu Safety Recommendations -- and Call on CDC to Maintain Stringent Safety Guidelines
Date:9/5/2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) today applauds the Institute of Medicine for recommending strong patient safety protections for patients and caregivers to avoid airborne transmission during the ongoing H1N1/swine flu pandemic--and calls on the Centers for Disease Control to meet the same, stringent standards.

"America's registered nurses have significant experience dealing with H1N1/swine flu, and we know that we need the highest level of safety protection for patients and nurses alike, including the N95 masks," said Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of CNA/NNOC.

"We've seen infection clusters caused by inadequate safety gear, and hospitals cutting corners on their preparedness for the virus. We need to ensure that any guidelines improve patient care and safety in hospitals--not weaken it," Burger continued.

Tuesday the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report, "Respiratory Protection for Healthcare Workers in the Workplace Against Novel H1N1 Influenza A," reviewing all available scientific literature, and concluding that the evidence on transmission makes clear that nurses and other caregivers caring for H1N1 and suspected H1N1 patients should use NIOSH-certified respirator masks of N95 or better that have been tested to ensure proper fit. They specifically argued that:

...the committee noted that in the recent outbreak of H1N1 in Mexico, strict adherence of infection control measures including the use of N95 respirators prevented healthcare workers from contracting influenza-like illness...One study that has been submitted for publication compared the clinical efficacy of medical [surgical] masks versus N95 respirators in healthcare workers and found that N95s had statistically significant efficacy while medical masks showed no efficacy...

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SOURCE California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee
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