Emergency medical services (EMS) workers appear to be at higher risk of infection when compared to firefighters and other frontline emergency personnel.
A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Infection Prevention and Control for the Emergency Medical Services and 911 Workforce, summarizes current evidence on exposures to infectious pathogens in the EMS and 911 workforce. The report includes:
Evidence-based recommendations to address infection prevention and control.
- Wear gloves to prevent needlestick exposures.
- Practice regular hand hygiene to prevent the spread of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
- Mandate influenza vaccine programs.
Areas where more research is needed.
- Effectiveness of N95 respirators and surgical face masks as personal protective equipment (PPE), especially with airborne diseases.
- Infectious diseases in 911 dispatchers and telecommunicators.
A recommendation to strengthen research into EMS and 911 infectious disease issues by establishing a national research agenda that includes:
- Data (improved) uniformity.
- Use of appropriate comparison groups.
- Comparable outcome measures.
The report was developed by one of the AHRQ’s Evidence-based Practice Centers located at Johns Hopkins University. It is part of a research project that began in 2021 on Emergency Medical Service/911 Workforce Infection Control and Prevention Issues.
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