Prevention and control of epidemic keratoconjunctivitis in a teaching eye institute

John D. Gottsch, John W. Froggatt, Dorothy M. Smith, Diane M. Dwyer, Penny Borenstein, Lynne V. Karanfil, Susan Vitale, Morton F. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To determine if an ongoing infection control program is associated with a reduction in rates of nosocomial outbreaks of epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) and outbreak morbidity from nosocomial EKC in a large teaching eye institute. METHODS. The number of nosocomial EKC outbreaks, the number of affected patients, and the total number of patient visits were collected for each year between 1984 and 1997. An infection control program was implemented in 1992. The program included specified methods of patient screening and isolation, handwashing, instrument disinfection, medication distribution, and furlough of infected employees. The program included two levels of intensity of infection control measures, for non-outbreak and outbreak conditions. We compared rates per 100,000 patient visits of nosocomial outbreaks of EKC and affected patients for the 6-year period after the program was implemented, 1992-1997, with corresponding rates for 1984-1991. RESULTS. One to three nosocomial outbreaks of EKC occurred annually in the period 1984-1991. After the implementation of the infection control program, no nosocomial outbreaks occurred in three of six years studied. In the pre-infection control years 1984-1991, there were 3.89 outbreaks and 54.09 affected patients per 100,000 visits, respectively. For the post-infection control years 1992-1997, the corresponding rates were 0.54 outbreaks and 5.66 affected patients per 100,000 patient visits. Rates for both outbreaks and affected patients were significantly lower for the post-implementation period (p < 0.005 and p < 0.0005, respectively). CONCLUSIONS. An ongoing infection control program was associated with decreased rates of nosocomial EKC outbreaks and outbreak morbidity from nosocomial EKC in our institute. Although several reports have described infection control measures that terminated individual outbreaks of nosocomial EKC this study demonstrates that an ongoing infection control program may preemptively reduce nosocomial EKC outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalOphthalmic Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Adenovirus
  • Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis
  • Infection control
  • Nosomal infection
  • Teaching hospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Ophthalmology


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