Education Materials

Mount Sinai Hospital is a University of Toronto patient care, teaching, and research centre.
Mount Sinai Hospital is a University of Toronto patient care, teaching, and research centre.

Influenza Cohort Study

What is it about?

We are recruiting people for the next 3 years (2011-2013) to try to find out:

  1. if certain categories of people working in acute care hospitals (e.g. doing aerosol generating procedures or working on certain units) are at higher risk of influenza than other people
  2. if people working in acute care hospitals are at increased risk for illness due to influenza or other respiratory illnesses than other working adults (Toronto sites only)
  3. workplace and community risk factors for infection
  4. the amount of absenteeism related to acute respiratory infections

Who is being asked to participate?

  1. People working at least 20 hours/week at any of the following hospitals:
    • Toronto:
      • Mount Sinai Hospital
      • North York General Hospital
      • St. Michael's Hospital
      • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
      • Toronto East General Hospital
      • University Health Network (Princess Margaret, Toronto General, or Toronto Western)
    • Halifax:
      • Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre
      • IWK Health Centre
    • Hamilton:
      • Hamilton Health Sciences Centre
  2. People working at least 20 hours/week in an office in downtown Toronto (close to Mount Sinai Hospital)

What will I need to do if I agree to help out?

  1. Fill out an online questionnaire about yourself, your home, work, and leisure-time activities
  2. Fill out short online questionnaires every week from November to April or May to report any symptoms of a cold - and about every 4th week - to report possible exposure to people ill with colds
  3. Tell us if you get your influenza vaccine
  4. When you get a cold - take nasal swabs and send them to be tested - and fill out online illness diaries to tell us how you feel, what exposure you might have had to other ill people, and whether or not you went to work
  5. Consider giving us 2 samples of blood (1 at the beginning & 1 at the end of the study) to measure you immune system's reaction to influenza (this is optional, but helpful)

How long will the study last?

The study will last from the beginning of influenza activity (usually around the first of November) until the end of influenza activity (usually around the end of April, but sometimes a few weeks later).

Are there any risks to participating?

There are no medications required and no physical risks to participating. Having a nasal swab is uncomfortable. If you choose to allow blood specimens to be taken, a few people have some pain and bruising at the site.

Who can I contact to find out more?

In Toronto, call Kristy at 416-586-4800 ext.2767 or email her at
In Hamilton, call Vanessa at 905-525-9140 ext. 26678 or email
In Halifax, call Pamela at 902-470-8949 or email

A member of the study staff will then arrange to talk to you in detail about the study so you can decide whether or not you wish to participate.

This website has been made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer Canada Inc.
Copyright 1999-2007 Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada. All rights reserved.