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SARS and health-care workers
  • Health-care workers who treat SARS patients should use good hygiene practices and appropriate PPE, including for bloodborne and airborne exposures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following general information in Health-care-associated infections (HAIs) on infection control for health-care workers.

  • Standard precautions and personal protective equipment. Since the infectivity and route of transmission of SARS are unknown, health-care workers treating patients known to be infected with SARS should use standard precautions, including good work and hygiene practices and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for bloodborne and airborne exposures. Appropriate PPE includes protective gowns, gloves, N95 respirators, and eye protection. If workers providing care to a SARS patient have potential exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials, they must use PPE in accordance with OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, 1910.1030. Refer to the Bloodborne Pathogens Technical Links page for information on the standard.
  • Engineering controls. Acute care facilities already should have appropriate ventilation systems (including appropriate exhaust and filtration) to eliminate the potential for exposure to airborne infectious diseases. If appropriate ventilation systems are in place, any airborne SARS exposures should also be controlled. Individuals with suspected SARS should be placed in an isolation room with negative pressure. If air recirculation is unavoidable, infected individuals should be placed in an area that exhausts room air directly to the outdoors or through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
  • Housekeeping. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a list of disinfectants that are effective on the SARS virus when used as directed on the label.