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The community paediatric respiratory infection surveillance study protocol: a feasibility, prospective inception cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere013017
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Jul 2016
DatePublished (current) - 31 Aug 2016


Introduction Paediatric respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are common reasons for primary care consultations and antibiotic prescribing. Locally relevant syndromic and microbiological surveillance information has the potential to improve the care of children with RTIs by normalising illness (parents) and reducing uncertainty (clinicians). Currently, most RTI studies are conducted at the point of healthcare service consultation, leaving the community burden, microbiology, symptom duration and proportion consulting largely unknown. This study seeks to establish the feasibility of (mainly online) participant recruitment and retention, and the acceptability/comparability of parent versus nurse-collected microbiological sampling, to inform the design of a future surveillance intervention study. Evidence regarding consultation rates and symptom duration is also sought.

Methods and analysis A community-based, feasibility prospective inception cohort study, recruiting children aged ≥3 months and <16 years and their parents via general practitioner surgery invitation letter, aiming to collect data on 300 incident RTIs by July 2016. Following informed consent, parents provide baseline (demographic) data online, and respond to weekly emails to confirm the absence/presence of new RTI symptoms. Once symptomatic, parents provide daily data online (RTI symptoms, school/day-care attendance, time off work, health service use, medication), and a research nurse visits to collect clinical examination data and microbiological (nasal and saliva) swabs. Parents are invited to provide symptomatic (at nurse visit, but without nurse assistance) and asymptomatic (alone) swabs on recovery. A review of primary care medical notes will gather medical history, health service utilisation, referral and antibiotic prescribing rates. Feasibility will be assessed using recruitment and retention rates, data completeness; and acceptability by quantitative survey and qualitative interviews. Symptomatic parent and nurse swab pairs will be compared for microbe isolation.

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