Until fairly recently the main concern in resuscitation was for the patient, but attention has now been directed towards the rescuer, particularly in the light of fears about the transmission of AIDS. However, no case of AIDS due to transfer from patient to rescuer (or vice versa) by mouth to mouth resuscitation has been reported. Despite the presence of the virus in saliva, it does not seem that transmission occurs via this route in the absence of blood to blood contact. Nevertheless, there is still concern about the possible risk of infection, and those who may be called on to administer resuscitation should be allowed to use some form of barrier device. This may take the form of a ventilation mask (for mouth to mask ventilation) or a filter device placed over the mouth and nose. The main requirement of these devices is that they should not hinder an adequate flow of air and not provide too large a dead space. Resuscitation must not be delayed while such a device is being sought.
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