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The Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine launched the second year of its Seattle Flu Study to better understand how influenza and other contagious diseases spread and to gather more information about how they might be better detected, monitored and controlled.

The study continues to recruit Seattle residents who show flu-like symptoms in the current season.

Swab your nose for science

Here’s how it works: Volunteers who agree to participate can enroll online or visit a designated kiosk where they will be asked to provide a nasal swab as well as basic personal and health information. Pathogens found in the samples will undergo genetic sequencing and be compared genetically and geographically. These analyses will help researchers better understand how illnesses spread throughout the community.

Live flu updates

New this year, the Seattle Flu Study team has developed an interactive map that displays how the flu is moving through Seattle and how severe cases are across the city, down to the neighborhood level. Additionally, participants will be able to check their swab results online following lab analysis.

Coming to a kiosk near you

The following kiosk sites are open (locations mapped) through the end of April:

  • UW Hall Health Center
  • UW Husky Union Building (HUB)
  • Fred Hutch (Arnold Building Atrium)
  • Harborview Medical Center (8th Ave. Lobby)
  • UW Suzzallo Library
  • Columbia Center (2nd floor next to Juicy Café)
  • King Street Station (Second Floor)

“The next frontier in flu prevention is the ability to accurately predict an outbreak and quickly take action to stop its spread. Through the study, we hope to find new ways to identify when the flu arrives in a community and develop tools to protect people before it becomes widespread,” says Helen Chu, MD, the study’s lead clinician and an infectious disease specialist at UW Medicine.

The study emerged from a collaboration between the Brotman Baty Institute’s co-founders at UW Medicine, Seattle Children’s and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

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