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Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: a systematic review

Lancet Infect Dis, 2003; 3(5):275-81
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pub_id
12726975
pubmedid
12726975
ISI
182640600022
reference_type
Journal Article
author
Curtis, V.; Cairncross, S.
title
Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: a systematic review
secondary_title
Lancet Infect Dis
ISBNISSN
1473-3099
volume
3
number
5
pages
275-81
year
2003
abstract
We set out to determine the impact of washing hands with soap on the risk of diarrhoeal diseases in the community with a systematic review with random effects meta-analysis. Our data sources were studies linking handwashing with diarrhoeal diseases. Seven intervention studies, six case-control, two cross-sectional, and two cohort studies were located from electronic databases, hand searching, and the authors' collections. The pooled relative risk of diarrhoeal disease associated with not washing hands from the intervention trials was 1.88 (95% CI 1.31-2.68), implying that handwashing could reduce diarrhoea risk by 47%. When all studies, when only those of high quality, and when only those studies specifically mentioning soap were pooled, risk reduction ranged from 42-44%. The risks of severe intestinal infections and of shigellosis were associated with reductions of 48% and 59%, respectively. In the absence of adequate mortality studies, we extrapolate the potential number of diarrhoea deaths that could be averted by handwashing at about a million (1.1 million, lower estimate 0.5 million, upper estimate 1.4 million). Results may be affected by the poor quality of many of the studies and may be inflated by publication bias. On current evidence, washing hands with soap can reduce the risk of diarrhoeal diseases by 42-47% and interventions to promote handwashing might save a million lives. More and better-designed trials are needed to measure the impact of washing hands on diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections in developing countries.
keywords
Adolescent Adult Aged Child Child Day Care Centers Child, Preschool Diarrhea/mortality/*prevention & control *Handwashing Human Infant Infant, Newborn Middle Age Risk Assessment Rural Population *Soaps Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Urban Population ; Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Child; Child Day Care Centers; Child, Preschool; Diarrhea; mortality; prevention & control; Handwashing; Human; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Middle Age; Risk Assessment; Rural Population; Soaps; Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Urban Population;
secondary_author
place_published
publisher
number_of_volumes
tertiary_author
tertiary_title
edition
date
2003-05-01
type_of_work
subsidiary_author
alternate_title
call_number
accession_number
12726975
custom_1
WOS OK
custom_2
Unknown
custom_3
custom_4
10.1016/S1473-3099(03)00606-6
custom_5
Subscription Required
custom_6
10
label
2016-10-19
notes
Journal Article Meta-Analysis Review Review, Academic Journal Article Meta-Analysis Review Review, Academic
url
author_address
Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. val.curtis@lshtm.ac.uk
library
12726975 S1473309903006066 22613510
date_accepted
date_online
created
2003-07-30 10:35:51
modified
2016-07-08 00:00:00
library
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<ArticleId IdType="pii">S1473309903006066</ArticleId>
<ArticleId IdType="medline">22613510</ArticleId>