Barriers to the Use of PPE to Prevent Pertussis Exposures in a Pediatric Primary Care Network

In the Journal of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Julie Fierro and colleagues, including Chris Feudtner and Kristen Feemster, identify barriers to healthcare workers (HCW) use of personal protection equipment (PPE) to prevent pertussis transmission in ambulatory pediatric settings. The authors examined the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about pertussis and the use of inflection control measures among HCW. Their results show that although the majority of HCWs reported using PPE for patients with suspected pertussis, only a minority used PPE for patients with any respiratory symptoms. Given the potential for a missed pertussis diagnosis, this discrepancy could result in suboptimal preventive measures for pertussis transmission. The authors find that PPE use was independently associated with HCWs’ attitudes toward PPE, knowledge and skills, and lack of barriers to PPE. The authors also identify organizational and workplace factors independently associated with IPC use, including perceived social norms about IPC in the clinic, and HCWs feelings about their knowledge and skills in using PPE correctly.  The authors suggest promoting an environment where PPE use is perceived as standard clinical care, and that improving HCW training on appropriate PPE use can improve HCW behaviors and practice toward infection prevention and control.