Does hygiene intervention at day care centres reduce infectious illnesses in children? An intervention cohort study

Thorolfur Gudnason, Birgir Hrafnkelsson, Brynja Laxdal, Karl G. Kristinsson

Rannsóknarafurð: Framlag til fræðitímaritsGreinritrýni

12 Tilvitnanir (Scopus)


Background: Day care attendance is a major risk factor for respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses in preschool children. In this study, we describe the results of a hygiene intervention cohort trial at day care centres (DCCs) on the rates of febrile, respiratory, and gastrointestinal illnesses in preschool children. Methods: Thirty DCCs in 2 communities were included. The number of illness episodes was registered for each child every 6 months, as well as potential risk factors. The hygiene intervention was introduced in half of the DCCs and the results analysed using a multivariate mixed effects hierarchical Poisson regression model. Results: The study lasted 2.5 y, of which the hygiene intervention lasted 1.5 y. Two thousand three hundred and forty-nine children participated, delivering 2832 person-y. Adjusted incidence rate ratios of the illnesses at the intervention and non-intervention DCCs were not significantly different for any of the illnesses. The intervention was not more effective in children less than 3 y of age than in older children and no significant effects were seen with time. Compliance with the hygiene protocol was good as measured by the use of hygiene products and by a survey among the staff at the DCCs. Conclusions: The most likely explanation for the lack of effects of the intervention is that the baseline standard of hygiene at the DCCs was probably too high for the intervention to demonstrate significant results, but recall bias cannot be excluded. Even though hygiene is important for minimizing the spread of microbes at DCCs, other risk factors need to be studied.

Upprunalegt tungumálEnska
Síður (frá-til)397-403
FræðitímaritScandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Númer tölublaðs5
ÚtgáfustaðaÚtgefið - maí 2013


Funding Information:
This study was supported by grant QLK2-CT-2000-01020 (EURIS) from the European Commission and was part of an international collaborative study, the European Resistance and Intervention Study (EURIS). It was also supported by a grant from The Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS; 00-067-FS).


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