Participant Blinding and Gastrointestinal Illness in a Randomized, Controlled Trial of an In-Home Drinking Water Intervention
Published Date:Jan 2002
Source:Emerg Infect Dis. 8(1):29-36.
Bias, Epidemiology, Double-blind Method, Filtration, Gastrointestinal Diseases, Public Health, Randomized Controlled Trials, Standards
Sanitation, Water Microbiology
Description:We conducted a randomized, triple-blinded home drinking water intervention trial to determine if a large study could be undertaken while successfully blinding participants. Households were randomized 50:50 to use externally identical active or sham treatment devices. We measured the effectiveness of blinding of participants by using a published blinding index in which values >0.5 indicate successful blinding. The principal health outcome measured was "highly credible gastrointestinal illness" (HCGI). Participants (n=236) from 77 households were successfully blinded to their treatment assignment. At the end of the study, the blinding index was 0.64 (95% confidence interval 0.51-0.78). There were 103 episodes of HCGI during 10,790 person-days at risk in the sham group and 82 episodes during 11,380 person-days at risk in the active treatment group. The incidence rate ratio of disease (adjusted for the clustered sampling) was 1.32 (95% CI 0.75, 2.33) and the attributable risk was 0.24 (95% CI -0.33, 0.57). These data confirm that participants can be successfully blinded to treatment group assignment during a randomized trial of an in-home drinking water intervention.
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