Assessment of a respiratory face mask for capturing air pollutants and pathogens including human influenza and rhinoviruses
Methods. The test mask was challenged, using standardized methods, with influenza A and rhinovirus type 14, bacteriophage ΦΧ174, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), and model pollutants. The statistical significance of results obtained for different challenge microbial agents and for different mask configurations (masks with operational or nonoperational ventilation fans and masks with sealed Smart Valves) was assessed.
Results. The results demonstrate >99.7% efficiency of each test mask configuration for exclusion of influenza A virus, rhinovirus 14, and S. aureus and >99.3% efficiency for paraffin oil and sodium chloride (surrogates for PM2.5). Statistically significant differences in effectiveness of the different mask configurations were not identified. The efficiencies of the masks for excluding smaller-size (i.e., rhinovirus and bacteriophage ΦΧ174) vs. larger-size microbial agents (influenza virus, S. aureus) were not significantly different.
Conclusions. The masks, with or without features intended for enhancing comfort, provide protection against both small- and large-size pathogens. Importantly, the mask appears to be highly efficient for filtration of pathogens, including influenza and rhinoviruses, as well as the fine particulates (PM2.5) present in aerosols that represent a greater challenge for many types of dental and surgical masks. This renders this individual-use N95 respiratory mask an improvement over the former types of masks for protection against a variety of environmental contaminants including PM2.5 and pathogens such as influenza and rhinoviruses.
Zhou, S. Steve et al. “Assessment of a Respiratory Face Mask for Capturing Air Pollutants and Pathogens Including Human Influenza and Rhinoviruses.” Journal of Thoracic Disease 10.3 (2018): 2059–2069. PMC. Web. 18 May 2018.
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