• Journal Article

Hygienic conditions in child-care facilities in North Carolina and South Carolina: An integrated microbial and observational study

Citation

Li, Y., Jaykus, L. A., Cates, S., Wohlgenant, K., Chen, X., & Fraser, A. M. (2014). Hygienic conditions in child-care facilities in North Carolina and South Carolina: An integrated microbial and observational study. American Journal of Infection Control, 42(7), 781-786. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2014.03.009

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In the United States almost one-quarter (23%) of children younger than age 5 years participate in some form of out-of-home child care; these children are 2.3-3.5 times more likely to contract acute gastrointestinal illness. METHODS: Observational investigations were done to understand the hygienic conditions and practices of 40 child-care facilities in North Carolina and South Carolina. These data were compared with microbiological indicator data (aerobic plate counts and coliform counts) collected from selected surfaces in each facility. Results from the two data sets were analyzed using nonparametric statistical methods to reveal potential risk factors for enteric disease transmission. RESULTS: Statistically significant differences (P </= .05) in surface microbial counts were observed when comparing family child-care homes versus centers and between facilities participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and those that do not participate. Facilities without written surface cleaning or food preparation policies had statistically significantly higher microbial counts on surfaces. CONCLUSIONS: Our unique study, which combined observational and microbiological data, provided revealing information about the relationship between hygiene indicators and sanitary practices in child-care facilities in the southeastern United States