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

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

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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Hand Disinfection
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hygiene*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Influenza, Human / transmission
  • Pennsylvania
  • Prospective Studies
  • Schools*