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Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Overview of attention for article published in CMAJ, March 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#42 of 6,828)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (97th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
17 news outlets
blogs
8 blogs
policy
1 policy source
twitter
369 tweeters
facebook
13 Facebook pages
wikipedia
2 Wikipedia pages
googleplus
1 Google+ user
reddit
2 Redditors

Citations

dimensions_citation
44 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
204 Mendeley
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Title
Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Published in
CMAJ, March 2016
DOI 10.1503/cmaj.150835
Pubmed ID
Authors

Jeffrey D. Smith, Colin C. MacDougall, Jennie Johnstone, Ray A. Copes, Brian Schwartz, Gary E. Garber

Abstract

Conflicting recommendations exist related to which facial protection should be used by health care workers to prevent transmission of acute respiratory infections, including pandemic influenza. We performed a systematic review of both clinical and surrogate exposure data comparing N95 respirators and surgical masks for the prevention of transmissible acute respiratory infections. We searched various electronic databases and the grey literature for relevant studies published from January 1990 to December 2014. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cohort studies and case-control studies that included data on health care workers wearing N95 respirators and surgical masks to prevent acute respiratory infections were included in the metaanalysis. Surrogate exposure studies comparing N95 respirators and surgical masks using manikins or adult volunteers under simulated conditions were summarized separately. Outcomes from clinical studies were laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection, influenza-like illness and workplace absenteeism. Outcomes from surrogate exposure studies were filter penetration, face-seal leakage and total inward leakage. We identified 6 clinical studies (3 RCTs, 1 cohort study and 2 case-control studies) and 23 surrogate exposure studies. In the metaanalysis of the clinical studies, we found no significant difference between N95 respirators and surgical masks in associated risk of (a) laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection (RCTs: odds ratio [OR] 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.64-1.24; cohort study: OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.03-6.41; case-control studies: OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.25-3.36); (b) influenza-like illness (RCTs: OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.19-1.41); or (c) reported workplace absenteeism (RCT: OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.57-1.50). In the surrogate exposure studies, N95 respirators were associated with less filter penetration, less face-seal leakage and less total inward leakage under laboratory experimental conditions, compared with surgical masks. Although N95 respirators appeared to have a protective advantage over surgical masks in laboratory settings, our metaanalysis showed that there were insufficient data to determine definitively whether N95 respirators are superior to surgical masks in protecting health care workers against transmissible acute respiratory infections in clinical settings.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 369 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 204 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Switzerland 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Japan 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Unknown 197 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 33 16%
Other 26 13%
Researcher 24 12%
Student > Postgraduate 21 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 16 8%
Other 64 31%
Unknown 20 10%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 89 44%
Nursing and Health Professions 15 7%
Unspecified 11 5%
Engineering 10 5%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 8 4%
Other 43 21%
Unknown 28 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 473. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 29 May 2020.
All research outputs
#23,043
of 15,145,018 outputs
Outputs from CMAJ
#42
of 6,828 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#731
of 268,575 outputs
Outputs of similar age from CMAJ
#3
of 111 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,145,018 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 6,828 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 26.3. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 268,575 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 111 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.