Researchers at i-sense and Flusurvey are calling for you, the public, to help us monitor flu across the UK more accurately and earlier than ever before.
i-sense have funded a new project with Flusurvey, an online system for measuring influenza trends. Flusurvey monitors flu across the UK by analysing weekly information relating to symptoms, provided in an online questionnaire by volunteers.
This new project will now offer some participants the chance to self-test at home to confirm whether they have flu or not, as part of this major new collaboration.
Flusurvey collects data directly from you, rather than via hospitals or GPs. This is particularly important because many people with flu don't visit a doctor, so they are missing from traditional flu surveillance.
Anyone can register to take part. When you register, you'll be asked to fill in a profile survey asking general questions about yourself and risk factors relevant to flu (for example, household size, age, and vaccination status). Each week, you'll be asked to report any flu-like symptoms you have experienced since your last visit. You can also take part on behalf of other people, for example household members. You'll be provided with the latest Flusurvey news and results, and regular updates on this season's flu epidemic.
This year, in addition to collecting information provided by you online relating to your symptoms during the flu season, we are asking a small sample of people to undertake a swabbing exercise at home, so we can ascertain whether the symptoms that you may experience are caused by an influenza virus, or not.
Before you decide to take part it is important for you to understand why this research is being done, and what it will involve. Therefore, please take the time to read the information found here carefully. If you agree, you may receive a swab, which we will ask you to use only if you report flu-like symptoms. An instructional video can be seen above.
Participation is entirely voluntary, and information is collected for research purposes only. All analysis is carried out on anonymous datasets.
Please do sign up - the more participants we have, the better our research. Your input really can make a difference in detecting and containing the next flu outbreak.