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Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2016 Aug;29(4):400-6. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000280.

Personal protective equipment and improving compliance among healthcare workers in high-risk settings.

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aDivision of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo Metropolitan Tama General Medical Center, Tokyo bDivision of Infectious Diseases Therapeutics, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan.



Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects healthcare workers (HCWs) from infection by highly virulent pathogens via exposure to body fluids and respiratory droplets. Given the recent outbreaks of contagious infectious diseases worldwide, including Ebola virus and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, there is urgent need for further research to determine optimal PPE use in high-risk settings. This review intends to provide a general understanding of PPE and to provide guidelines for appropriate use based on current evidence.


Although previous studies have focused on the efficacy of PPE in preventing transmission of pathogens, recent studies have examined the dangers to HCWs during removal of PPE when risk of contamination is highest. Access to adequate PPE supplies is crucial to preventing transmission of pathogens, especially in resource-limited settings. Adherence to appropriate PPE use is a challenge due to inadequate education on its usage, technical difficulties, and tolerability of PPE in the workplace. Future projects aim at ameliorating this situation, including redesigning PPE which is crucial to improving the safety of HCWs.


PPE remains the most important strategy for protecting HCW from potentially fatal pathogens. Further research into optimal PPE design and use to improve the safety of HCWs is urgently needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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