SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Flu season is here, and everyone should be thinking about how to stay healthy as the risk of getting the flu gets higher. Last flu season, our region experienced two waves of flu causing hospitalizations and severe illness for thousands of local residents. This year, the Seattle Flu Study is inviting the Seattle community to join them in finding new ways to protect people from future outbreaks. They’re also providing tools and tips for everyone on how to keep themselves and their families healthy, and what to do if they think they might have the flu.
The Seattle Flu Study (SFS) is starting the second year of its effort to understand how flu enters and spreads in a community. The study works by collecting nasal swabs from adults and children with colds or other illnesses, testing them for flu and other germs, giving participants their results, and mapping how flu moves through the community. The study is currently recruiting people who live or work in the city of Seattle. Participants can enroll themselves and their families when they are healthy or when they have cold or flu-like symptoms. There are many ways to sign up and take part in the study, to learn more visit seattleflu.org online or visit study kiosks in person in multiple locations across the city.
“The next frontier in flu prevention is the ability to accurately predict an outbreak and quickly take action to stop its spread,” said Dr. Helen Chu, associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and lead clinician for Seattle Flu Study. “Through the study, we hope to find new ways to identify when flu arrives in a community and develop tools to protect people before it becomes widespread.”
As the Seattle Flu Study team reaches out to recruit people to join the study, they also want to make sure they have tools and information to fight the flu this season. The website seattleflu.org has tips and information about preventing the flu and what to do when you think you might have it. People can also sign up for email updates on all things flu in Seattle. New this year is an interactive map that shows the presence of flu at the neighborhood level for the entire city of Seattle.
Now in its second year, the study team hopes to build on what it learned last year and take next steps in finding new ways to prevent outbreaks.
“This year, we’re engaging more directly with the Seattle community by providing near real-time information on flu circulation throughout the city as well as returning results directly to participants,” said Dr. Trevor Bedford, lead data scientist for Seattle Flu Study. “We’re thinking of this as a collaboration for citizen science with the entire Seattle community.”
About The Seattle Flu Study – The Seattle Flu Study is a unique collaborative effort by the Brotman Baty Institute, UW Medicine, The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children’s, to find out how we can better detect, monitor, and control flu outbreak. For more information, visit www.seattleflu.org
About The Brotman Baty Institute – The Brotman Baty Institute combines the research strengths and capabilities of UW Medicine, Fred Hutch and Seattle Children’s to accelerate both the basic sciences of precision medicine and the delivery of benefits to patients. For more information, visit www.brotmanbaty.org