Never mind!

The same authors who claimed their study results were so convincing that it was no longer ethical to recommend surgical masks for the care of patients with influenza have now admitted that their analysis was flawed, and that their study (when analyzed correctly) shows no difference between N95s and surgical masks for protection of health care workers from influenza transmission (a conclusion now consistent with the JAMA study by Loeb, et. al.).

These data were cited as being of major import in the IOM report, which of course was a major determinant in the CDC decision to stick with N95s for all care of those with ILI during the H1N1 influenza pandemic.

I wasn't at the IDSA presentation where this retraction occurred, but I imagine it involved one of the authors going up to the microphone, meekly stating, "never mind", and rushing off to catch a flight back to Australia.


  1. I was there at the presentation. the most stunning thing to me was that the presenter did not in any way point out that the results she presented were opposite the results presented at ICAAC (and the IOM) about the same study. It wasn't until the Q&A when someone asked basically "What the heck?" that the presenter acknowledged that the results differed from what, maybe, people had been expecting to hear. I had the feeling that she had been hoping to slink out of the room before anyone had a chance to digest what had just transpired. One wonders how the IOM missed the methodological flaws in the study. The politics of all this have been astounding. On the bright side, I felt immediately better about our decision to go with the IDSA/SHEA guidance on the whole respiratory protection thing.


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