The TransFLUas influenza transmission study in acute healthcare - Recruitment rates and protocol adherence in healthcare workers and inpatients

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Background: Detailed knowledge about viral respiratory disease transmission dynamics within healthcare institutions is essential for effective infection control policy and practice. In the quest to study viral transmission pathways, we aimed to investigate recruitment rates and adherence of healthcare workers (HCWs) and hospital inpatients with a study protocol that involves prospective surveillance based on daily mid-turbinate nasal swabs and illness diaries. Methods: Single center prospective surveillance of patients and HCWs in three different hospital departments of a tertiary care center during an entire influenza season in Switzerland. Inpatients and acute care HCWs were asked to provide mid-turbinate nasal swabs and illness diaries on a daily basis. Study protocol adherence and recruitment rates were the primary outcomes of interest. Results: A total 251 participants (59 (23.5%) health care workers and 192 (76.5%) inpatients) were recruited from three different hospital wards. Recruitment rates differed between HCWs (62.1% of eligible HCWs) and inpatients (32.5%; P < 0.001), but not within HCWs (P = 0.185) or inpatients (P = 0.301) of the three departments. The total number of study-days was 7874; 2321 (29.5%) for inpatients and 5553 (70.5%) for HCWs. HCWs were followed for a median of 96 days (range, 71-96 days) and inpatients for 8 days (range, 3-77 days). HCWs provided swabs on 73% (range, 0-100%) of study days, and diaries on 77% (range 0-100%). Inpatients provided swabs and diaries for 83% (range, 0-100%) of days in hospital. In HCWs, increasing age, working in internal medicine and longer duration of total study participation were positively associated with the proportion of swabs and diaries collected. Adherence to the study protocol was significantly lower in physicians as compared to nurses for both swabs (P = 0.042) and diaries (P = 0.033). In inpatients, no association between demographic factors and adherence was detected. Conclusions Prospective surveillance of respiratory viral disease was feasible in a cohort of inpatients and HCWs over an entire influenza season, both in terms of recruitment rates and adherence to a study protocol that included daily specimen collection and illness diaries. Trial registration: NCT02478905. Date of registration June 23, 2015.




Schwarz, H., Böni, J., Kouyos, R. D., Turk, T., Battegay, E., Kohler, M., … Kuster, S. P. (2019). The TransFLUas influenza transmission study in acute healthcare - Recruitment rates and protocol adherence in healthcare workers and inpatients. BMC Infectious Diseases, 19(1).

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