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Cohort profile: the Flu Watch Study

Fragaszy, Ellen B.; Warren-Gash, Charlotte; Wang, Lili; Copas, Andrew; Dukes, Oliver; Edmunds, W. John; Goonetilleke, Nile; Harvey, Gabrielle; Johnson, Anne M.; Kovar, Jana; Lim, Megan S.C.; McMichael, Andrew; Millett, Elizabeth R.C.; Nazareth, Irwin; Nguyen-Van-Tam, Jonathan; Tabassum, Faiza; Watson, John M.; Wurie, Fatima; Zambon, Maria; Hayward, Andrew C.

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Ellen B. Fragaszy

Charlotte Warren-Gash

Lili Wang

Andrew Copas

Oliver Dukes

W. John Edmunds

Nile Goonetilleke

Gabrielle Harvey

Anne M. Johnson

Jana Kovar

Megan S.C. Lim

Andrew McMichael

Elizabeth R.C. Millett

Irwin Nazareth

Faiza Tabassum

John M. Watson

Fatima Wurie

Maria Zambon

Andrew C. Hayward


Influenza is a common, highly contagious respiratory virus which infects all age groups, causing a range of outcomes from asymptomatic infection and mild respiratory disease to severe respiratory disease and death.1 If infected, the adaptive immune system produces a humoral (antibody) and cell-mediated (T cell) immune response to fight the infection.2 Influenza viruses continually evolve through antigenic drift, resulting in slightly different ‘seasonal’ influenza strains circulating each year. Population-level antibody immunity to these seasonal viruses builds up over time, so in any given season only a proportion of the population is susceptible to the circulating strains. Occasionally, influenza A viruses evolve rapidly through antigenic shift by swapping genes with influenza viruses usually circulating in animals. This process creates an immunologically distinct virus to which the population may have little to no antibody immunity. The virus can result in a pandemic if a large portion of the population is susceptible and the virus is easily spread.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 9, 2015
Online Publication Date Mar 3, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 6, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 6, 2016
Journal International Journal of Epidemiology
Print ISSN 0300-5771
Electronic ISSN 0300-5771
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL


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