Oral Contact Events and Caregiver Hand Hygiene: Implications for Fecal-Oral Exposure to Enteric Pathogens among Infants 3–9 Months Living in Informal, Peri-Urban Communities in Kisumu, Kenya

Childhood diarrhea is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in children under five in low and middle-income countries, second only to respiratory illness. The mouthing behavior that is common in children exposes them to fecal-orally transmitted pathogens that can result in diarrhea; however, there is a need for further evidence on specific exposure routes. This study describes the frequency and diversity of two important routes of enteric pathogen exposure among infants 3–9 months of age: infant oral contact behavior and caregiver handwashing behavior. The combined implication of data from observing oral contact behavior in children and hand hygiene of caregivers suggests that caregiver hand hygiene prior to feeding events and after cleaning a child are priority interventions.

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