papr_0Healthcare workers play a very important role in the successful containment of outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola. The correct type and level of personal protective equipment (PPE) ensures that healthcare workers remain healthy throughout an outbreak—and with the current rapidly expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it’s imperative to favor more conservative measures. The precautionary principle—that any action designed to reduce risk should not await scientific certainty—compels the use of respiratory protection for a pathogen like Ebola virus that has:
  • No proven pre- or post-exposure treatment modalities
  • A high case-fatality rate
  • Unclear modes of transmission

We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks. More