About the Respiratory Infections Study
Today, the incidence of severe influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections in children in Norway is unknown. The purpose of this study is to find out how influenza, RSV and whooping cough (pertussis) infections affect young and older children treated in hospitals in Norway. The study will also estimate the health and societal costs of these diseases in children. In addition, the study will examine the importance of vaccination against influenza and whooping cough.
How is the study conducted?
The study is a collaboration between the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and five Norwegian hospitals under the direction of the NorEPIS-network (Norwegian Enhanced Paediatric Immunisation Surveillance network).
All children aged 0-18 years who are referred to one of the study hospitals with fever and respiratory or other symptoms are invited to participate. Study participation requires written parental consent. A questionnaire is used to collect relevant health information about the study participants, such as symptoms, severity, and other parameters. Some participants are also followed up with a telephone interview after being discharged from the hospital. A nasopharyngeal sample is taken from each participant, which is tested for various viruses and bacteria at the hospital laboratory. The doctor who examines the child will usually request a nasopharyngeal sample to make a correct diagnosis and the same sample can be used in the study. Samples are sent to the laboratory at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, where they will also be tested for several infectious agents.
Links to other registries
The study compiles data from questionnaires and test results with data from several other sources (Norwegian Patient Registry, Norwegian Immunisation Registry (SYSVAK), Medical Birth Registry, Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (MSIS), Control and Payment of Health Reimbursement (KUHR), Norwegian Prescription Database and Statistics Norway) to examine patients' use of health services, medicines and vaccines, vaccine efficacy, risk factors and possible complications from these infections.
The samples collected in the study are stored in a biobank at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The collected data are stored in an access-controlled and password-protected database, and only de-identified data are used in the analyses. At the end of the project, all data and samples are anonymised so study participants cannot be identified when the results are published. The project end date is 31.12.2030.
The study is collaborating with a major European study (Pertinent- Pertussis in Infants European Network) to measure the disease burden and incidence of pertussis in Europe.
Funding and approval
The study is funded by the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. The project leader is Anne-Marte Bakken Kran at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The project is approved by the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics.
Publication of results
Results from the study will be published in scientific journals and on the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s website.