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 final year of the study to learn:

  1. if certain people working in acute care hospitals (e.g. those doing aerosol generating procedures or working on certain units) are at higher risk of getting influenza(and 13 other respiratory viruses) than other hospital workers
  2. workplace and community risk factors for infection
  3. the amount of absenteeism related to acute respiratory infections
  4. how effective the influenza vaccine is in preventing influenza infections

Who is being asked to participate?

People working 20 hours/week at:
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto
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)
Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences
Centre (Halifax)
IWK Health Centre Halifax
Hamilton Health Sciences Centre

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 during the influenza season to report any symptoms of a cold. About every 5th week, 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)
  6. Consider giving us nasal swabs when you are not ill with respiratory symptoms but someone in your household is having symptoms (this is also optional, but helpful)

How long will the study last?

The study will last from the beginning to the end of influenza activity
(usually around the first of November until about the end of April)

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 Jonielyn at 416-586-4800 ext.2767 or email her at
In Hamilton, call Amy at 905-525-9140 ext. 26670 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 study has been approved by the Research Ethics Boards at all participating hospitals.

Study protocol

Available on request; email:

Current participants

Click HERE to link to study site (password protected)

Publications or resources about this study

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.