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This study is one of four published clinical trials of the use of face masks in community settings.1,–,3 Cowling and colleagues used a prospective cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) design, identifying well families of index patients with flu confirmed by rapid testing from outpatient clinics in Hong Kong. Households were randomised to control (n=279), hand hygiene (n=257) or hand hygiene plus face masks (n=258). The masks used were medical/surgical ones. Outcomes measured for a follow-up period of 6 days were the development of clinical flu-like illness as measured by two …
Competing interests CRM has conducted investigator-driven clinical research on face masks. She has received support in the form of provision of masks from 3M for some of her studies. She has also received grants and support for investigator-driven research from GlaxoSmithKline, CSL Biotherapies and Wyeth. She is working on face mask research with GlaxoSmithKline.