Background: Hand-hygiene interventions are widely used in schools but their effect on reducing absenteeism is not well known.
Methods: The aim of our literature review was to determine whether implementation of a hand-hygiene intervention reduced infectious disease-associated absenteeism in elementary schools. The eligible studies (N = 19), published between 1996 and 2014, were summarized and the methodologic quality of each was assessed.
Results: Our review indicated evidence is available to show hand-hygiene interventions had an effect on reducing acute gastrointestinal illness-associated absenteeism but inadequate evidence is available to show an effect on respiratory illness-associated absenteeism.
Conclusions: The methodologic quality assessment of eligible studies revealed common design flaws, such as lack of randomization, blinding, and attrition, which must be addressed in future studies to strengthen the evidence base on the effect of hand-hygiene interventions on school absenteeism.
Keywords: Acute gastroenteritis; Children; Hand washing; Health education; Respiratory illness.
Copyright © 2017 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.