2019 Volume 247 Issue 3 Pages 173-178
Infection control in nursery schools and schools is important for community health and the health of children. In Japan, caregivers of children or students usually report the absence due to illness to their attending nurseries or schools, including symptoms and diagnosed diseases. The (Nursery) School Absenteeism Surveillance System, (N)SASSy, covers about 60% of schools and 40% of nurseries in Japan. In this paper, we evaluated the benefits of (N)SASSy as an infection control measure by a public health center. Mito Public Health Center (MPHC) covers 58 nurseries and 186 schools, as of May 2015, and called the nurseries and/or schools to confirm the situation, in case of aberration detected through (N)SASSy. The outcome was defined as the proportion of cluster avoidance by advice from MPHC. A cluster was identified, when the number of patients at the same facility with the same symptom or diagnosed disease was greater than ten during the prior seven days. During the study period (April 2015-March 2016), MPHC advised 85 times, and clusters were avoided 82 times (96.5%). The proportion of cluster avoidance was 100% for fever, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli infection, respiratory syncytial virus infection, or streptococcal pharyngitis infection. The proportion of cluster avoidance for diarrhea, vomiting or gastroenteritis infection, mumps, hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD), and influenza was 78.8, 50.0, 20.0, and 6.7%, respectively. In conclusion, advice from a public health center given by phone based on information from (N)SASSy will be helpful for reducing the number of clusters of infectious diseases, except for HFMD and influenza.