Wednesday, November 01, 2006


A couple of people have sent me an interesting article on pandemic flu preparations that reviewed a new study by a group of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh that includes D.A. Henderson, the scientist who led the successful global effort to eradicate smallpox.

I'll write more about the study later, but those who read my review of the New York Times op-ed last week that seemed to be promoting the use of surgical masks (with the assistance of nylon hosiery) for respiratory protection against the flu will find this interesting:
Studies have shown that ordinary surgical masks do little to prevent inhalation of small droplets bearing the influenza virus, it added. "The pores in the mask become blocked by moisture from breathing, and the air stream simply diverts around the masks." While N95 masks can be effective, they must be properly fitted to the wearer’s face "and are uncomfortable to wear more than an hour or two," according to the study.

Henderson questioned the credentials of a presenter at last week’s Institute of Medicine meeting on pandemic countermeasures who said a surgical mask covered by panty hose would be effective. The presenter is an economist, Henderson said.
Not to be deterred however, SEIU Health and Safety staffers Bill Borwegen and Mark Catlin decided to try out the idea before trashing it. The result: The human condom.

Need we say more?