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Returning to the past1

Respiratory illness, vaccines, and handwashing
  • Joel C Gaydos
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Joel C. Gaydos, MD, MPH, FACPM, Director, Public Health Practices, Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Surveillance & Response System, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910-7500
    Affiliations
    Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Surveillance & Response System, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
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      This issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine presents an article entitled Handwashing and Respiratory Illness Among Young Adults in Military Training by Ryan et al.
      • Ryan M.A.K
      • Christian R.S
      • Wohlrabe J
      Handwashing and respiratory illness among young adults in military training.
      Following a large study (1,089,800 person weeks) in a young military training population over 3 years (1996–1998), the authors concluded that implementation of a handwashing program was associated with a marked reduction in outpatient visits for respiratory illness. They also found that frequent handwashing was not easily accomplished. At first glance some may find the study interesting and important to the military, but question its relevance to the practice of preventive medicine in the 21st century. It has great relevance.
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