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Purpose of review: Prior outbreaks of respiratory viruses have demonstrated the need for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, particularly filtering facepiece respirators (FFR). Due to shortfalls of PPE during the SARS CoV-2 pandemic, the need for FFR decontamination and reuse (FFR-DR) strategies is paramount. This paper aims to discuss primary decontamination strategies, with an in-depth analysis of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), arriving at the decontamination strategy utilized at the Nebraska Medical Center (NMC).
Methods: Review of the primary literature in regard to FFR-DR as well as a synopsis of the current protocol for FFR-DR at NMC.
Recent findings: UVGI demonstrates effective decontamination of multiple pathogens-including several human respiratory viruses-while maintaining mask integrity and filtering capacity. UVGI was associated with degradation of strap integrity at higher doses than that utilized for decontamination or with reuse beyond 20 times.
Summary: UVGI effectively decontaminates N95 FFRs without significant reduction to fit or strap integrity and can be employed as a strategy for FFR-DR in times of emergency.
Keywords: Decontamination and reuse; Filtering facepiece respirator; Microwave-generated steam; Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation; Vaporized hydrogen peroxide; Warm moist heat.
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2021.
Conflict of interest statement
Conflict of interestMark P. Ridder, Katie D. Paladino, John J. Lowe, and Mark E. Rupp declare that they have no conflicts of interest.