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Population based surveillance for laboratory confirmed influenza

Status:  Currently Recruiting

Why are we doing this?

Influenza remains the most common infectious disease causing death and hospitalization in the developed world.  The advent of routine rapid testing for influenza, the availability of new drugs for its treatment, and the attention focused on viral respiratory illnesses have resulted in  more diagnostic testing for respiratory viruses, and a new appreciation for the impact of influenza on both our health and use of health care resources.

Our goal is to continue to provide clinicians in south-central Ontario with descriptions of the clinical features and outcomes of serious influenza-related illness in their population, and to determine whether there are laboratory, hospital or region specific differences in the use of influenza diagnostic tests and preventative and management strategies.


  • To describe the incidence, clinical features and outcomes of episodes of laboratory-confirmed influenza associated with hospitalization in a defined population and to assess variability in diagnosis and management
  • To conduct ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing influenza-associated hospitalization and death  
  • To characterize the burden of disease, clinical outcomes, and resource utilization  associated with influenza A and influenza B lineages
  • To assess the effect of treatment with anti-viral medications on hospital length of stay and mortality

Who is being asked to participate?

  • Anyone admitted to a hospital and has had a respiratory sample (eg. nasal/pharyngeal swab, sputum) which has tested positive for influenza

If I agree to participate, what will I need to do?

If you agree to participate you will be consenting to:

  • being interviewed for approximately 10-15 minutes about vaccination and possible risk factors for infection
  • being called by the study nurse about 1 month after discharge from the hospital to see how you are recovering since your illness
  • the release of information about you medical history from the hospital
  • the release of information about previous vaccinations and antibiotics from your family doctor and/or vaccination clinic
  • having any left over specimen from your nose swab sent to the study laboratory for storage and possible future testing.

How long will the study last? 

This study has been running since 2004 at all TIBDN hospitals (with the exception of the Hospital for Sick Children). We are currently enrolling for the 2012-2013 influenza season.

Are there any risks to participating in this study?

There are no risks for you in taking part in this study. You are not being given any medication and no change in your treatment will result from your participation. You may find the interviews or questions upsetting or distressing or you may not like all of the questions that you are asked. You may refuse to answer questions or stop the interview at any time if you are uncomfortable. We take every precaution to protect your personal information. Any information and left-over test sample you provide to the study is confidential and is identified only by a study code number. No one will be able to identify the study information or sample as belonging to you.

Who can I contact if I am interested in the study?  

Call the study office at Mount Sinai Hospital, 416-586-4800, ext. 2761 or 1-800-668-6292.

You will be directed to the TIBDN reseach personnel assigned to the hospital where you were admitted.


Dr. Allison McGeer, Principal Investigator

Click here for full investigator list

Funding partner

This work is funded through an Investigator-Initiated Research Grant provided by Hoffman LaRoche Ltd. The funding partner plays no role in the conduct of the protocol, the data collection, analysis or reporting of results.


This study has been approved by the Research Ethics Boards at all participating hospitals.

Participating TIBDN Sites