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Free Content Effectiveness of handwashing in preventing SARS: a review

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Summary

This review examines the literature, including literature in Chinese, on the effectiveness of handwashing as an intervention against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) transmission. Nine of 10 epidemiological studies reviewed showed that handwashing was protective against SARS when comparing infected cases and non-infected controls in univariate analysis, but only in three studies was this result statistically significant in multivariate analysis. There is reason to believe that this is because most of the studies were too small. The evidence for the effectiveness of handwashing as a measure against SARS transmission in health care and community settings is suggestive, but not conclusive.
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Keywords: communicable disease control; handwashing; hygiene; public health intervention; severe acute respiratory syndrome

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College, London, UK 2:  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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