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Infectious Diseases - Non-Clinical Medicine - Ophthalmology - Public Health and Epidemiology


Effect of the H1N1 Influenza Pandemic on the Incidence of Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis and on Hygiene Behavior: A Cross-Sectional Study
Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Author: Hyun Su Kim et al.

by Hyun Su Kim, Ho Chun Choi, Belong Cho, Joon Yong Lee, Min Jeong Kwon

Background

EKC is transmitted chiefly by direct hand contact. It is suspected that the 2009/2010 influenza pandemic influenced hand washing. This study aims to examine the relationship between the 2009/2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic and hygiene behavior.

Methods

We compared the EKC prevalence trends before, during and after the 2009/2010 influenza pandemic by using a t-test comparison of EKC sentinel surveillance.

Results

During the pre-pandemic period, the incidence of EKC increased from the 21st to the 44th week each year. However, during the pandemic period in 2009, there was no epidemic peak. In the post-pandemic period, the epidemic curve was similar to that in the pre-pandemic period. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, the total number of EKC patients during the pandemic period showed a decrease of 44.9% (t value?=?-7.23, p?=?0.002). Comparing the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods by age group, we found there to be a significant decrease in the number of EKC patients for all age groups (-4.12=t value=-7.23, all P<0.05). This finding was most evident in the teenage group (62%) compared to the other age groups (decreases of 29 to 44%).

Conclusions

A continuing effort should be made to educate the public on basic infection prevention behaviors in the aftermath of the pandemic, particularly to teenagers.

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