Although surgical mask media may be adequate to remove bacteria exhaled or expelled by health care workers, ​they may not be sufficient to remove the submicrometer-size aerosols containing pathogens​ to which these health care workers are potentially exposed.”

Chen CC, Willeke K. Aerosol penetration through surgical masks. Am J Infect Control. 1992 Aug;20(4):177-84. PMID: 1524265.