Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

: 2014  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 270-

Facemask and respiratory protection for healthcare workers

Sim Sai Tin1, Viroj Wiwanitkit2,  
1 Department of Medical Science, Medical Center, Shantou, China
2 Department of Tropical Medicine, Hainan Medical University, China

Correspondence Address:
Sim Sai Tin
Department of Medical Science, Medical Center, Shantou, Haikou

How to cite this article:
Tin SS, Wiwanitkit V. Facemask and respiratory protection for healthcare workers.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2014;7:270-270

How to cite this URL:
Tin SS, Wiwanitkit V. Facemask and respiratory protection for healthcare workers. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Sep 25 ];7:270-270
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Full Text

Dear Sir,

We would like to discuss the publication on "facemask and respiratory protection for healthcare workers." [1] In fact, the use of protective devices is an important consideration in self-prevention for medical practitioners. The first consideration is a sufficient amount of protective devices for the practitioner. However, a more important concern is the quality of the protective device. The question remaining is whether the facemask is a protective device that can prevent Ebola virus from entering the practitioner. Generally, the facemask can prevent the virus only if the virus cannot pass through the pores of the mask. [2] Since Ebola is a virus, similar to the influenza virus, the facemask may not effectively prevent the virus from passing through the mask. [2] However, Ebola virus is actually a very large virus: at a length of up to 900 mn, one of the largest known (see table on virus size here: In addition, viruses rarely transmit as free virions, but are generally transmitted as passengers on particles, such as droplets or aerosols, which is what respiratory protection is designed to filter. It is certainly accepted that the influenza virus does not float around as a free virus but is carried on particles.


1MacIntyre CR, Chughtai AA, Seale H, Richards GA, Davidson PM. Respiratory protection for healthcare workers treating Ebola virus disease (EVD): Are facemasks sufficient to meet occupational health and safety obligations? Int J Nurs Stud 2014;51:1421-6.
2Wiwanitkit V. N-95 face mask for prevention of bird flu virus: An appraisal of nanostructure and implication for infectious control. Lung 2006;184:373-4.