Thursday, September 24, 2009

Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses: systematic review/BMJ

From Jefferson T et al. in this week's BMJ: 
The disparity in effectiveness between the high profile of influenza vaccines and antivirals and the low profile of physical interventions is striking. Public health recommendations are almost completely based on the use of vaccines and antivirals despite the lack of strong evidence.1 Vaccines work best in those who are universally considered least to need them10—namely, healthy adults...
Conclusions Based on the findings of this review, we recommend that handwashing programmes should be implemented nationwide, their effectiveness monitored, and their cost effectiveness evaluated. In situations of high risk of transmission, barrier measures should be implemented such as wearing gloves, gowns, and masks with a filtration apparatus, and isolation of likely cases. Most effort should be concentrated on reducing transmission from young children through regular education at school on hygiene. In addition, society should invest in more comfortable and better designed face masks and barrier apparatus, which would increase compliance with their use.

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