Background: We studied the efficacy of different time-interval applications of alcohol hand gel as a strategy for the prevention of influenza-like illness (ILI) in preschool-age children.
Methods: We performed a classroom-based cluster randomization at a kindergarten school in Bangkok, Thailand. A total of 1437 children were placed into 3 test groups, based on the frequency of alcohol hand gel use for hand hygiene: only before lunch (q lunch), every 120 minutes (q 120), and every 60 minutes (q 60). The primary outcome was a change in the school absenteeism rate caused by ILI.
Results: The rates of absenteeism from confirmed ILI (sick days/present days) were 0.026 in the q lunch group, 0.025 in the q 120 group, and 0.017 in the q 60 group. Significant reductions in absenteeism rates were seen when comparing the q 60 group with the q 120 group (rate difference, 0.009; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.002 to 0.015; P = .008) and comparing the q 60 group with the q lunch group (rate difference, 0.0096; 95% CI, 0.004-0.016; P = .002). No such differences were detected between the q 120 and q lunch groups (rate difference, 0.001; 95% CI, 0.005-0.007; P = .743).
Conclusions: The compulsory hourly use of alcohol gel as classroom hand disinfection could significantly reduce the rate of absenteeism from ILI in preschool-age children.
Copyright © 2012 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. All rights reserved.