Does Smoking Increase the Risk for Respiratory Illness or Isolation of Respiratory Viral Pathogens among Healthcare Personnel Using Facial Protective Equipment in Outpatient Healthcare Settings?
Healthcare personnel (HCP) in outpatient and other settings may be at risk for an acute respiratory illness (ARI). Smoking may increase the risk of ARI. It is unknown if HCP who smoke and use appropriate facial protective equipment (FPE) in outpatient healthcare settings are at greater risk of ARI than non-smokers who also use FPE. The Respiratory Protection Effectiveness Clinical Trial (ResPECT) studies the effectiveness of medical masks and N95 respirators for preventing ARI in outpatient HCP. Our objective is to determine if HCP who smoke are more likely to have a respiratory viral pathogen (RVP) isolated from nasal/throat swabs.
At study enrollment, HCPs were asked about current smoking history and pre-existing respiratory conditions. In addition, nasal and throat swabs were obtained during the study period. All participants had at least 2 random/asymptomatic swabs collected. When an HCP reported ARI symptoms, swabs were obtained. For the 2012-2013 influenza season the respiratory viral pathogens (RVPs) were identified using RT-PCR/ ESIMS (PLEX-ID, Abbott) from these specimens and the absolute proportions and types of RVPs isolated were compared between smokers and non-smokers.
Of the 1077 HCPs enrolled in 2012-2013, 1069 (99.3%) responded to the pre-study survey question concerning smoking status; 93(8.7%) smoked.
A total of 2630 swabs were collected: 630 (24%) were from symptomatic HCPs at the time of collection. Among 464 HCPs, 47% of smokers and 43% of non-smokers had at least 1 swab obtained when symptomatic with an ARI. RVPs were isolated from 271 (10.3 %) of 2630 swabs (28% symptomatic and 72% asymptomatic). Smokers were not more likely to report symptoms of an ARI or to have a RVP isolated (Table).
HCP who smoke represented only a small percentage of ResPECT participants. Prior research suggests that smoking is associated with a higher risk of bacterial/respiratory tract infection. Among HCP who smoke and use FPE in outpatient settings there was not a higher risk of acute respiratory illness or isolation of respiratory viral pathogens, perhaps demonstrating the effectiveness of FPE.
M. Bessesen, None
C. Gaydos, None
A. C. Nyquist, None
T. Pearl, None
C. S. Price, None
L. Radonovich, None
N. G. Reich, None
M. Rodriguez-Barradas, None
M. S. Simberkoff, None
C. Gibert, None