The Prospective Household observational cohort study of Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial virus and other respiratory pathogens community burden and Transmission dynamics in South Africa (The PHIRST Study) was a prospective cohort study in a rural and urban site from 2017-2018, with approximately 100 new households enrolled each year and followed up for 10 months. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected twice-weekly from consenting household members irrespective of symptoms and tested for influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), B. pertussis and S. pneumoniae using a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. We collected and tested over 100,000 nasopharyngeal swabs and over 7,000 serum samples. Although the follow-up of the cohort has stopped, we are currently doing serology testing and analysis.
To estimate the community burden of influenza and RSV, including:
To assess the transmission dynamics of influenza and RSV infections in the community, including:
The PHIRST study will improve our understanding of the community burden of influenza, RSV, pertussis, tuberculosis and pneumococcal infection in South Africa. It will also provide data on the carriage prevalence of meningococcus, diphtheria and group A streptococcus. The data generated from this study will also provide important information on the transmission dynamics of influenza, RSV, pertussis and pneumococcus in the community allowing to better strategize interventions (including targeted vaccination strategies) and evaluate their potential impact.
The study was approved by the University of the Witwatersrand Human Research Ethics Committee (Reference 150808).