Key messages

  • Children in childcare centres, other children’s services centres and kindergartens are at particular risk of transmitting infectious diseases.
  • Several infectious diseases have been reported as being more common, or even epidemic, in children’s services centres.

Children in childcare centres, other children’s services centres and kindergartens are at particular risk of transmitting infectious diseases because of:

  • close contact with other children and staff
  • lack of previous exposure to common infections
  • lack of toilet training
  • lack of control of other body secretions
  • mouthing behaviour.

These risk factors may be increased when staff are not appropriately trained, group sizes are large and mixing of age groups occurs.

Infections with the following organisms have been shown to be more common in children’s services centres, or have been reported as epidemic:

  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • influenza virus
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Shigella spp.
  • rotavirus
  • Giardia lamblia
  • cryptosporidium
  • hepatitis A
  • E. coli
  • Campylobacter spp.
  • parvovirus B19 (erythema infectiosum)
  • coxsackievirus group A (hand, food and mouth disease)
  • Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus (impetigo)
  • cytomegalovirus
  • scabies
  • head lice.

Contact details