Do alcohol-based hand rubs reduce the incidence of acute diarrhea during military deployments? A prospective randomized trial

Abstract : Background: Acute diarrhea remains a public health concern in armed forces deployed in tropical areas where access to water and soap is limited. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) on incidence of diarrhea in poor hygiene conditions. Method: A prospective randomized trial was conducted between November 2014 and January 2015 among French military troops deployed in Africa to compare a group of soldiers receiving usual hand hygiene recommendations (control group), to a group of soldiers who received ABHR in addition to usual hand hygiene recommendations (intervention group). Data on diarrhea and hygiene behaviors were collected using self-questionnaires. The incidence rate of diarrhea episodes in groups was compared. Results: Participation rate was 59% (236/400). The proportion of individuals who used ABHR was 97% in the intervention group and 62% in the control group. The overall incidence rate of diarrheal episodes was observed to be in the region of 60 per 100 persons-month without any significant difference between groups after adjustment on confounding factors (p ¼ 0.93). Handwashing with soap was used on average 4 times a day in the control group and twice a day in the intervention group (p ¼ 0.93). It was the only significant protective factor for diarrhea (p < 10 À3). Conclusion: Our results support that supplying soap and good quality water should be a priority on the field.
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Tiphanie Succo, Franck de Laval, Sebastien Sicard, Didier Belleoud, Catherine Marimoutou, et al.. Do alcohol-based hand rubs reduce the incidence of acute diarrhea during military deployments? A prospective randomized trial. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, Elsevier, 2017, 15, pp.48-51. ⟨10.1016/j.tmaid.2016.11.007⟩. ⟨inserm-01986505⟩

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