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Why Hospital Staff Catch the Flu: Assessing Modes of Transmission FY12

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


  • To improve understanding of the relative contributions of direct-contact, inhalation of respirable virus-laden particles, inspiration of virus-laden particles, and direct-spray modes of influenza transmission in healthcare settings by measuring the level of influenza contamination of the environment (air and surface) and healthcare worker PPE (gloves, surgical masks, and filtering facepiece respirators) and comparing that to the incidence of lab-confirmed influenza in healthcare workers in the Respiratory Protection Effectiveness Clinical Trial (ResPECT) study

Applicable Standards

  • ASTM E2720 10 / E2721 10
  • NIOSH 42 CFR Part 84
  • ISO TC94/SC15
  • OSHA 1910.134

Key Partners

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Veterans Administration
  • Air Force Research Laboratory


  • Healthcare workers
  • Hospital administrators
  • Policy makers
Man sneezing toward a healthcare worker wearing PPE

Project Scope

  • FY11 write proposal, initiate contract with JHU (NPPTL)
  • FY12 Correlate influenza environmental sampling to PPE sampling in the lab (HELD)
  • FY13 Pilot field study. Measure environmental and PPE influenza contamination in healthcare setting (DSHEFS)
  • FY14 Full-scale field study. Measure environmental and PPE influenza contamination. Relate contamination to influenza rates of subjects in the ResPECT study (JHU)
  • FY15 Laboratory study to on contact transmission from contaminated PPE using MS2 phage and human test subjects (NPPTL)
  • FY12-15. Manuscripts, presentations, etc.


  • Q1 Submit proposal for external peer-review
  • Q2 Finalize peer-review, complete site survey
  • Q4 Obtain IRB/HSRB approval for FY13 pilot field study
  • Q4 Complete lab studies to optimize influenza extraction protocols and correlate environmental and PPE contamination (HELD)


  • Manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals (0)
  • Presentations at conferences (0)
  • Contractor reports (1 in progress)


  • Outputs will be used by other government agencies for guidance in using non-pharmacological interventions for influenza transmission
  • Other researchers will use the findings of this project to explore the modes of influenza transmission and examine the efficacy of PPT
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