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Respirator and surgical mask efficacy from cough aerosols - FY 12

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.


  • Determine efficacy of FFR and surgical masks when exposed to aerosols generated by a cough simulator
Cough Generation testing device diagram

Applicable Standards

  • Polices and procedures

Key Partners

  • HELD - NPPTL Collaboration
  • Other Federal Agencies (OSHA/EPA/FDA)


  • Safety Professionals
  • Other Government Agencies
  • Other Research Organizations

Project Scope

  • Controlled studies are needed to address the efficacy of surgical masks and FFR use in preventing transmission of influenza and provide healthcare recommendations


  • Measure the effects of different room air exchange rates on healthcare worker exposure to potentially-infectious cough-generated aerosols.
  • Extend initial study to examine the effectiveness of different types and configurations of PPE at protecting healthcare workers from cough-generated airborne particles


  • Lindsley, WG, WP King, RE Thewlis, JS Reynolds, K Panday, G Cao and JV Szalajda. Dispersion and Exposure to a Cough-generated Aerosol in a Simulated Medical Examination Room. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. In press.
  • Noti, JD, WG Lindsley, FM Blachere, G Cao, ML Kashon, RE Thewlis, CM McMillen, WP King, JV Szalajda and DH Beezhold. Detection of Infectious Influenza Virus in Cough Aerosols Generated in a Simulated Patient Examination Room. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2012. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis237


  • Improved worker respiratory protection as a result of updated guidelines/recommendations for use of FFR and surgical masks
Page last updated: April 17, 2012
Page last reviewed: April 17, 2012
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory