The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) at a kindergarten in Tseung Kwan O, and hence reminded the public and management of institutions to maintain personal and environmental hygiene against AGE. The outbreak involves 20 students, comprising 13 boys and seven girls aged 2 to 5, as well as two female staff members, who have developed vomiting, diarrhea and fever since November 4. Among them, seven students and one staff member sought medical attention, while one was discharged upon hospitalisation. All affected persons have been in a stable condition.
Officers of the CHP conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the staff of the school concerning proper and thorough disinfection, the disposal of vomit, and personal and environmental hygiene.
Apparently, that’s just a throw-a-way tag line, at the end of an abstract for a paper, but my observations say it’s the most important. Have paper towels, not bacterial blow dryers; have soap; and have vigorous running water, not a trickle-down (as effective in economics as in handwashing).
Each year millions of children are enrolled in center-based childcare. Childcare employees are tasked with handling over half the children’s weekly meals. Proper food handling practices are crucial in mitigating this high-risk population’s risk of foodborne illness. The purpose of this study was to identify childcare food handling employees’ (n = 278) perceived barriers and motivators to follow recommended food safety practices. Six important barriers and 14 key motivators to following recommended food safety practices were identified. Important barriers pertained to time restraints, workloads, and lack of understanding of the importance of following proper food safety practices. Key motivators were focused on children’s safety, available supplies, communication, and food safety training/information. Employee and facility characteristics were shown to influence perceived importance of barriers and motivators to following food safety practices. Childcare directors should review scheduling and job duties of employees as the majority of identified barriers focused on “work pace” and “time restraints.” Directors should also attempt to increase food safety communication through practical situational training, written food safety policies, and use of food safety signage to increase understanding of the importance of proper food safety practices. Ensuring proper supplies are available is necessary.
Childcare food handling employees’ perceived barriers and motivators to follow food safety practices
Early Childhood Education Journal, pp 1-9, 24 October 2017, Joel Reynolds, Lakshman Rajagopal
Whenever someone tells me of an outbreak at a school, day care, university residence, whatever, the first place I go, or someone more geographically-centered should go, is check out the bathrooms.
It’s easy to preach proper handwashing as a way to reduce the spread of infectious disease.
But proper handwashing requires access to proper tools.
So I check out the bathroom and usually find the tools, uh, missing.
Proper handwashing requires vigorous water flow (temperature doesn’t matter), a vigorous rub with soap, and drying with paper towel.
Garth Bray of TVNZ reports an Auckland primary school has dumped a policy that saw soap and hand towels removed from all children’s toilets.
The school felt the children were wasting those basic items, but failed to follow some of the most basic health advice with its policy.
“I think it’s appalling”, said Dr Michael Baker, who is the University of Otago Professor of Public Health.
“We’ve got good evidence in big trials showing that having handwashing can actually reduce risk of gut infections by about 30 per cent and respiratory infections by about 20 per cent so I think all of our schools need to be part of this,” Dr Baker told Fair Go.
Fair Go was contacted by four parents of children at the school who objected to the school withdrawing soap but had been told by teachers this was the policy.
Some had simply accepted this and started sending their children to school with little bottles of liquid hand soap to use.
However, one took her concerns to the principal and to a school board member.
Fair Go has seen written messages between the board member and the parent which say: “There are no legal requirements from the Ministry of Health and the students were wasting the soap and hand towels so they were taken out but every class has hand sanitiser that they encourage their kids to use regularly.”
That’ll work until the kids start drinking the stuff.
Fair Go spoke with the principal, who disclosed that classrooms were sometimes locked at lunchtimes, meaning children had no access to anything but water for washing before meals and after using toilets.
The principal told Fair Go that the same week our programme had made contact, the school board had decided to reverse the policy and will now stock toilets with soap and hand towels again.
On that basis, Fair Go has decided for now not to name the school publicly as it takes steps to make good its commitment to provide hygienic hand washing facilities for children.
“New Zealand’s got an appalling record of having very high rates of a lot of major childhood diseases – respiratory infections, skin infections and gut infections and these are exactly the things that hand washing can protect our children against,” Dr Baker said.
Fair Go’s advice is for parents to take a look at their own school’s facilities and reassure themselves their children have the essentials on hand at school.
Don and Ben talk High Sierra and bricking a MacBook Air, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, State Fair judging, pH test strips, mail order food safety and cold brewed canned coffee. They also do some listener feedback on food safe issues related to brewing beer.
Don and Ben are on the road, talking to some of the best folks in the food safety world at the NEHA Region 4 conference/FDA Central Region retail food protection seminar in Minneapolis. This recording was an experiment, the first Food Safety Talk recorded in front of a live, non-studio audience. Topics included raw milk, hepatitis A, listener feedback on liquid nitrogen, our favorite Bond movies and least favorite pathogens.
Some teachers at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, southeast of London, are now arming themselves with hand sanitiser amid fears that shaking hands up to 150 times a day may cause them to pick up germs.
Principal Amanda Simpson is standing by her decision, which sees teachers shaking hands with every member of their class before each lesson.
One parent told local news website Kent Live that she was worried about the consequences of the mandatory handshaking.
“It will be interesting to see what happens if there’s an outbreak of Norovirus,” she said.
“I assume it was introduced because the new head wanted to introduce some element of respect – but I wouldn’t think that sort of thing would make any difference.”
Ms Simpson believes that starting every lesson “with a handshake and a smile” makes children feel welcome and appreciated.
She confirmed that hand sanitiser was available throughout the school for anyone worried about the spread of germs.
Handwashing is making a pop culture splash this week with the New Yorker piece and today’s Washington Post article on the types of soap that serial hand washers (like a chef and recipe tester) prefer.
An owner of a restaurant group with six restaurants surely washes her hands countless times a day. Renee Erickson, a chef and cookbook author in Seattle, likes unscented soaps for a work environment. But for home, where one can have more fun, she says, “I have become a big fan of L:A Bruket’s cucumber and mint soap from Sweden”
I’d largely forgotten about my lab’s handwashing phase, probably because I was leaving the safety (shurley not) of Kansas and heading to Australia.
But was reminded from this excerpt in The New Yorker from Nate Dern’s “Not Quite a Genius,” to be published by Simon & Schuster:
Employees must wash hands.
Employees must wash their own hands.
Employees must wash their own hands after they use the restroom.
Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands after they use the restroom.
Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom.
Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom, or else they are in violation of the health code.
Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom, or else they are in violation of the health code, and, no, there is no practical way to regulate or enforce this rule.
Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom, or else they are in violation of the health code, and, no, there is no practical way to regulate or enforce this rule, but, yes, we still ask, and trust that you will comply.
Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom, or else they are in violation of the health code, and, no, there is no practical way to regulate or enforce this rule, but, yes, we still ask, and trust that you will comply, and, O.K., we apologize for the condescending tone of the posting of this rule, which seems to imply that without such a sign we would assume that our employees are disgusting children with no regard for their own hygiene.
Employees must wash hands. Greg has been fired.
Filion, K., KuKanich, K.S., Chapman, B., Hardigree, M.K., and Powell, D.A. 2011. Observation-based evaluation of hand hygiene practices and the effects of an intervention at a public hospital cafeteria. American Journal of Infection Control 39(6): 464-470.
Hand hygiene is important before meals, especially in a hospital cafeteria where patrons may have had recent contact with infectious agents. Few interventions to improve hand hygiene have had measureable success. This study was designed to use a poster intervention to encourage hand hygiene among health care workers (HCWs) and hospital visitors (HVs) upon entry to a hospital cafeteria.
Over a 5-week period, a poster intervention with an accessible hand sanitizer unit was deployed to improve hand hygiene in a hospital cafeteria. The dependent variable observed was hand hygiene attempts. Study phases included a baseline, intervention, and follow-up phase, with each consisting of 3 randomized days of observation for 3 hours during lunch.
During the 27 hours of observation, 5,551 participants were observed, and overall hand hygiene frequency was 4.79%. Hygiene attempts occurred more frequently by HCWs than HVs (P = .0008) and females than males (P = .0281). Hygiene attempts occurred more frequently after poster introduction than baseline (P = .0050), and this improvement was because of an increase in frequency of HV hand hygiene rather than HCW hand hygiene.
The poster intervention tool with easily accessible hand sanitizer can improve overall hand hygiene performance in a US hospital cafeteria.
Wilson, S.M., Jacob, C.J. and Powell, D.A. 2011. Behavior-change interventions to improve hand hygiene practice: A review. Critical Public Health 21: 119-127.
Despite the role of hand hygiene in preventing infectious disease, compliance remains low. Education and training are often cited as essential to developing and maintaining hand-hygiene compliance, but generally have not produced sustained improvements. Consequently, this literature review was conducted to identify alternative interventions for compelling change in hand-hygiene behavior. Of those, interventions employing social pressures have demonstrated varying influence on an individual’s behavior, while interventions that focus on organizational culture have demonstrated positive results. However, recent research indicates that handwashing is a ritualized behavior mainly performed for self-protection. Therefore, interventions that provoke emotive sensations (e.g., discomfort, disgust) or use social marketing may be the most effective.