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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2010 Jul-Aug;16(4):316-24. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181cb4368.

Compliance with a multilayered nonpharmaceutical intervention in an urban elementary school setting.

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1
Center for Public Health Preparedness, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent school-aged children can learn hygiene-based nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) and persist in these behavioral changes over the duration of an influenza season. If this can be done successfully, it may be a preferable pandemic mitigation strategy to much more disruptive strategies such as whole-scale school closure.

METHODS:

The Pittsburgh Influenza Prevention Project (PIPP) is a prospective, controlled, randomized trial of the effectiveness of a suite of hygiene-based NPIs in controlling influenza and related illnesses in elementary schools in the City of Pittsburgh. During the 2007-08 school year, the project measured adoption of NPIs by students in five elementary schools through surveys of home-room teachers before, during, and after influenza season.

RESULTS:

Results showed highly statistically significant improvement in students' daily practice of nearly all of the NPIs, including hand washing and sanitizer use and covering coughs and sneezes.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study provides evidence that children can learn, implement, and persist in the behaviors of a multilayered suite of NPIs over a typical flu season. These results will be useful to public health policy makers and practitioners considering methods of infectious disease prevention in school-based settings.

PMID:
20520370
DOI:
10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181cb4368
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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