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Families needed for study into children's common illnesses

29 February 2016

CAPC researchers, led by Prof Alastair Hay, are asking families in the city to take part in a new study to find out how children’s common illnesses such as coughs, colds, chest and ear infections develop out in the community.

The project, which seeks to recruit more than 450 families in Bristol, will find out how these illnesses develop and circulate by studying out how children are cared for at home, which bugs are causing them and when parents choose to seek medical help. Although previous research has focused on these illnesses in GP consultations not so much is known about how quickly these infections develop and spread.

The Evaluation of Enhanced Paediatric Respiratory Infection Surveillance (EEPRIS) study is aiming to recruit approximately 777 children (or just over 450 families) aged between three months and 14-years in the coming months. When a family has agreed to be part of the study, they will receive a weekly email (or text) asking if their child has developed any symptoms in the last seven days. If their child picks up a cough, cold or ear infection, parents will be asked more questions about the illness and a nurse will help the parent collect saliva and nose swabs from the child to identify the bacteria or viruses causing the illness.

Dr Emma Anderson, study manager at the University’s Centre for Academic Primary Care in the School of Social and Community Medicine, said: “This is exciting research that could have a real impact on how these common childhood infections are managed. We want to see if we can collect information on the symptoms and microbiology (viruses and bacteria) of these circulating infections, and whether we could in future create an online resource for GPs and parents based on real-time information on infections as they develop in the community.”

Several GP surgeries within a ten mile radius of Bristol city centre are taking part in the study. Parents can visit the EEPRIS website for further information about taking part, and to check if theirs is one of the participating practices. Parents can also use the website to contact the study team and be sent an invitation pack.

Please contact for more information.

Further information

The study is funded and supported by the NHS (through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Evaluation of Interventions. The HPRU is a partnership between universities across England and Public Health England (PHE) which supports high-quality research to protect our health.

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