264206 Partnership to improve schools' response to infectious disease outbreaks

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Carolyn Rose, RN, MPH , Nursing Director, Summit County Health Department, Park City, UT
Mandy Allison, MD, MSPH , Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Deirdre Caplin, PhD , Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Robert Crisp, PhD , Idaho Technology Inc., Salt Lake City, UT
Mary Sue Purzycki, MEd , Science Department, Park City High School, Park City High School, UT
Carrie L. Byington, MD , Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Background: The first cases of pandemic H1N1 influenza in Utah were recognized in the Park City School District (PCSD). Officials closed PCSD schools because they could not determine the extent of the outbreak. New rapid viral diagnostic technology could aid officials by providing immediate information regarding the presence of pathogens among students.

Purpose: 1)Conduct a school-based drill to determine the feasibility of testing students for respiratory pathogens; 2)Engage students in the process.

Significance: Students have the opportunity to learn about the public health system and biotechnology. PCSD will be better prepared when infectious disease outbreaks occur.

Methodology: Students from a PCSD Biotechnology class worked with the local health department, Idaho Technologies Inc.(ITI), and the University of Utah to learn about viral diagnostic technology and develop a drill protocol. A drill was conducted in 2/12 involving anterior nare swabs and symptom surveys collected from students. Students worked with the investigators to test swabs for respiratory pathogens using the ITI point-of care(POC) FilmArray device.

Results: Samples and surveys were collected from 78 students. Thirty-seven(47%) reported fever, cough, or sore throat and 4(5%) met the definition for influenza-like illness. H1N1 influenza, parainfluenza 2, and rhinovirus were detected. Most students(78%) reported minimal or no discomfort with testing and 81% thought other students would probably participate in the future.

Conclusions: Conducting a school-wide drill using POC diagnostics to screen for respiratory pathogens is feasible. We created a successful academic-health department-school-small business partnership to engage students in public health and prepare schools for outbreaks.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how a public health, academic, small-business, and school partnership was used to improve schools' preparedness for an infectious disease outbreak and engage high school students in public health. 2. Analyze whether similar partnerships could be created in their communities.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Infectious Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Idaho Technology Inc's point-of-care FilmArray device has been FDA-approved for use in a clinical setting but is under investigational use in alternative settings such as schools and using anterior nare swabs for sample collection.

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the nursing director for the Summit County Health Department. I was closely involved in the decision to close schools during the H1N1 influenza pandemic and am interested in determining whether viral diagnostic technology could provide data to improve decision-making. I have been actively involved with the partnership with Park City School District, the University of Utah, and Idaho Technology, Inc. since the inception of the project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.