Diarrhoeal diseases often lead to outbreaks of infection such norovirus, one of the costliest infections to the NHS. Rapid detection is key to bringing these diseases under control and limiting their health and financial impact.
The Integrate project seeks to create a new, “one-health” paradigm for detecting and investigating diarrhoea and vomiting, shifting from passive human surveillance for gastrointestinal illness and management of laboratory-confirmed infection towards an integrated, interdisciplinary, and enhanced surveillance system. Syndromic surveillance will be used to detect anomalous patterns in the incidence of community acquired gastrointestinal disease and rapidly identify the responsible pathogens, replacing traditional diagnostics with rapid modern microbiology methods.
This is a Wellcome-DH funded research study led by Prof Sarah O’Brien at Liverpool University. The surveillance system includes veterinary surveillance and much more advanced and rapid identification of organisms responsible for vomiting and diarrhoea.
The objective is to create an enhanced surveillance system for gastrointestinal illness which will include veterinary surveillance and much more advanced and rapid identification of organisms responsible for vomiting and diarrhoea. The syndromic surveillance system will use health data in real-time to manage people with symptoms and detect community outbreaks sooner, enabling faster intervention.
What is the design of Integrate?
60 practices in the North-West of England were recruited to take part. Stool samples were obtained from patients reporting symptoms either over the phone or in direct consultation with their GPs and sent to 3 labs (in Manchester, Liverpool and Preston), which are also part of the study. Sample kits and questionnaires can were either mailed directly to the patient or provided by the GP.
In order to support practices, the study team at the University of Surrey created e-learning modules as well as regular data quality feedbacks to practices on gastroenteritis and lab results recording.
For more information about the study, please visit the Integrate’s official website: http://www.integrateproject.org.uk/