Epidemiology; Infectious disease; Prevention; Child survival
Hygiene and water quality are often compromised in extreme events, due to the interruption of routine municipal supplies, as well as disruptions in social order. Handwashing with soap has been shown to reduce the risk of diarrhea and pneumonia by about 50% in young children in low- and middle-income countries. The World Health Organization “recommends that all countries undertake urgent action to prepare for a pandemic” of influenza (www.who.int). Dr. Ram is currently pursuing studies to determine whether intensive promotion of handwashing with soap will reduce the risk of influenza transmission to young children, and to household contacts, in low-income settings. This work is expected to substantially inform international efforts to plan for the next influenza pandemic, particularly in the low-income and complex emergency settings where influenza transmission is expected to be intense in a pandemic situation.