Compliance With a Multilayered Nonpharmaceutical Intervention in an Urban Elementary School Setting

Center for Public Health Preparedness, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP (Impact Factor: 1.47). 07/2010; 16(4):316-24. DOI: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181cb4368
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.
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 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.
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.

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