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Open Access Research article

How effective is good domestic kitchen hygiene at reducing diarrhoeal disease in developed countries? A systematic review and reanalysis of the UK IID study

Anna Stenberg, Clare Macdonald and Paul R Hunter*

Author Affiliations

School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:71  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-71

Published: 22 February 2008

Abstract

Background

To assess whether domestic kitchen hygiene is an important contributor to the development of diarrhoea in the developed world.

Methods

Electronic searches were carried out in October 2006 in EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge, Cochrane central register of clinical trials and CINAHL. All publications, irrespective of study design, assessing food hygiene practices with an outcome measure of diarrhoea were included in the review. All included studies underwent data extraction and the data was subsequently analysed. The analysis was conducted by qualitative synthesis of the results. Given the substantial heterogeneity in study design and outcome measures meta-analysis was not done. In addition the existing dataset of the UK IID study was reanalysed to investigate possible associations between self-reported diarrhoea and variables indicative of poor domestic kitchen hygiene

Results

Some 14 studies were finally included in subsequent analyses. Of the 14 studies included in this systematic review, 11 were case-control studies, 2 cross-sectional surveys, and 1 RCT. Very few studies identified any significant association with good environmental kitchen hygiene. Although some of the variables in the reanalysis of the UK IID study were statistically significant no obvious trend was seen.

Conclusion

The balance of the available evidence does not support the hypothesis that poor domestic kitchen hygiene practices are important risk factors for diarrhoeal disease in developed countries.