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Pediatrics. 2000 Apr;105(4 Pt 1):738-42.

Effect of infection control measures on the frequency of upper respiratory infection in child care: a randomized, controlled trial.

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National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.



Acute upper respiratory infections are common in children who attend child care, and preventing transmission of disease in this setting depends on actions by child care staff. We set out to discover whether transmission of respiratory infections in child care could be reduced by improved infection control procedures.


We performed a cluster, randomized, controlled trial of an infection control intervention conducted in child care centers in 1 city in Australia. The intervention was training of child care staff about transmission of infection, handwashing, and aseptic nosewiping technique. Implementation of the intervention was recorded by an observer. Illness was measured by parent report in telephone interviews every 2 weeks.


There were 311 child-years of surveillance for respiratory symptoms. By multivariable analysis, there was no significant reduction in colds in intervention center children across the full age range. However, a significant reduction in respiratory illness was present in children 24 months of age and younger. When compliance with infection control practices was high, colds in these children were reduced by 17%.


This trial supports the role of direct transmission of colds in young children in child care. The ability of infection control techniques to reduce episodes of colds in children in child care was limited to children 24 months of age and under.

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