Hurry up, CDC

It has been a while since we blogged about the ridiculously stupid mask fiasco, mainly because the 2009 H1N1 virus is off the radar in most parts of the country and world.

This hasn’t stopped California OSHA from citing UCSF for not requiring N95 masks for the care of patients with suspected or confirmed 2009 H1N1. A post from the EIN this morning details the citation, which includes a fine and a requirement to rectify the situation by June 6, 2010. Here is a short excerpt from that EIN post:
I am…concerned about the short time window which we have been given to rectify the situation. Given the availability of 2009 H1N1 vaccine and increasing evidence in the literature that N95 masks are not superior to surgical masks, we plan to appeal before making a change in our practice; however, it is unlikely that OSHA will be willing to consider such an appeal without a formal change in the CDC guidance. I have heard that the CDC will soon be providing updated guidance on infection control practices for 2009 H1N1 - does anyone know the status of these guidelines and when they will be available?

Given that the “2009 H1N1” is going to be with us as a seasonal strain now, the CDC has only two options that make any logical sense: either back off the mistaken N95 recommendation, or begin requiring N95 use for all suspected or confirmed seasonal flu.

It would be nice if CDC acted quickly, and if OSHA held its fire until new guidance is issued.

Addendum: Rather than spending its time and resources doing post-hoc punishment of hospitals that responded appropriately to 2009 H1N1, California OSHA should be doing more to reduce the real threat of HIV transmission in the porn industry. So far, Cal OSHA has taken the bold step of “setting up an advisory committee to study the issue”.


  1. Dan,

    OSHA has begun the rule making process to expand its ability to regulate infection control in all areas where health care is being practiced; from hospitals to schools. It was posted on 5/6 and will close for comment on 8/4/10. It can be found at:

    This is an opportunity to provide OSHA with feedback on this major expansion of their activity. IDSA, SHEA and others need to develop a concerted response to this proposal.

  2. Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for mentioning the OSHA request for information. As well as representing a frightening potential expansion of their oversight, I agree it is an excellent opportunity to provide them some feedback and guidance.

    I am planning to ask Jennifer Bright (executive director of SHEA) and Neil Fishman (SHEA president) what SHEA plans to do, along with IDSA and APIC, to present some organized response to this RFI.

    Dan I


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