Handwashing to prevent diarrhea in day-care centers

Robert E. Black, Aubert C. Dykes, Kern E. Anderson, Joy G. Wells, Susanne P. Sinclair, G. William Gary, Milford H. Hatch, Eugene J. Gangarosa

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214 Scopus citations


Black, R. E. (CDC, Atlanta, GA 30333), A. C. Dykes, K. E. Anderson, J. G. Wells, S. P. Sinclair, G. W. Gary, Jr., M. H. Hatch and E. J. Gangarosa. Hand-washing to prevent diarrhea in day-care centers. Am J Epidemiol 1981; 113: 445-51.Diarrhea has been recognized as a frequent health problem among children enrolled in day-care centers. Thus, we evaluated the effect of a handwashing program In two day-care centers (HWC) on the incidence of diarrhea among children when compared to children in two control centers (CC). After the program was begun, the incidence of diarrhea at the HWC began to fall and after the second month of the study was consistently lower than that at the CC. The incidence of diarrhea in the HWC was approximately half that of the CC for the entire 35-week study period. Adenoviruses, rotavirus, Glardia lamblia, and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli were found In the stools of a small number of ill children, but no pathogen was identified in the stools of most children with diarrhea. These results suggest that a handwashing program will probably prevent at least some of the diarrhea in day-care centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-451
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1981
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenoviruses
  • Day care
  • Diarrhea
  • Escherichia coli
  • Glardia lamblia
  • Rotavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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