Background: The purpose of this study was to design and implement a comprehensive infection control program and measure its effects on the number and types of infectious illnesses experienced by children attending a specialized preschool program.
Methods: Participants in the study were children with Down syndrome enrolled in a school-based early intervention program. The ages of the children ranged from 6 weeks to 5 years. Through a series of parental questionnaires, the number and types of infections in the children were chronicled for a year before and a year after the implementation of an infection control intervention program. Interventions included infection control lectures, handouts, posters, and attention to environmental cleaning and disinfection, with an emphasis on toys. Compliance with these measures was monitored and recorded.
Results: During the interventional year the median number of total illnesses/child/month decreased significantly from the baseline year (0.70 vs 0.53, p < 0.05), with a trend toward a decrease in the number of respiratory illnesses (0.67 vs 0.42, p < 0.07). Significant decreases were also seen for the median number of physician visits (0.50 vs 0.33, p < 0.05), courses of antibiotics administered (0.33 vs 0.28, p < 0.05), and days of school missed as a result of respiratory illness (0.75 vs 0.40, p < 0.05).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates a decrease in infection rates with the implementation of a comprehensive educational and environmental infection control program in a day care setting.