Examining and Simulating Children’s Exposure To Rotavirus in Day Care Centers

EPA Grant Number: F07D30757
Title: Examining and Simulating Children’s Exposure To Rotavirus in Day Care Centers
Investigators: Julian, Timothy R.
Institution: Stanford University
EPA Project Officer: Manty, Dale
Project Period: January 1, 2007 through January 1, 2010
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Exposure Assessment


Children in day care centers have an increased risk of infectious diarrhea compared to those that stay at home (Alexander, et al. 1990), with rotavirus as the leading worldwide cause of severe diarrhea in young children and infants (Kapikian, et al. 1993). Exploration of strategies for reducing child exposure to rotavirus in day care centers may be performed through identification of objects/activities that contribute most to subsequent infection. A time-dependent, mechanistic-stochastic model reliant on these objects/activities will track interactions of an individual with rotavirus through a typical contaminated environment. This will provide a better understanding of the processes that dominate person-to-person spread of rotavirus, enable examination of strategies to reduce a child’s exposure to rotavirus, and determine areas that would most benefit from future study.


The parameters relevant to developing a mechanistic-stochastic model to simulate a child’s exposure to rotavirus in day care centers are identified as: 1) ability of etiological agents or surrogates to transfer between environment and person, 2) human activity patterns, and 3) prevalence and quantity of etiological agents in an environment. The data sets required to quantitatively characterize these parameters will be determined experimentally through field and laboratory testing. The relationships between these parameters will be explored through the development of a time-dependent, mechanistic-stochastic model tracking individual’s interactions with rotavirus in a typical contaminated environment.

Expected Results:

The mechanistic-stochastic model will enable exploration of novel strategies to reduce child exposure to rotavirus (e.g. use of microbicidal surfaces, rotation of toy use, or hand washing) prior to field-scale implementation. Additionally, the model provides insight into the areas that would benefit from further study. The effort to augment existing data sets will further exploration into the transferability of virus between surfaces, survival of virus on surfaces, prevalence of virus in environmental settings, and human activity patterns.

Supplemental Keywords:

rotavirus, day care center, transfer efficiency, fomites, inactivation, virus, microbial exposure assessment, quantitative risk assessment, microactivity data, microlevel activity time series, mlats, disinfection, infectious disease modeling, disease transmission model, fecal-oral, non-dietary ingestion,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Health Risk Assessment, Children's Health, Environmental Policy, behavioral effects, rotavirus, environmental risks, day care, exposure pathways, hygiene practices