• To define the contribution of viral infection and increased bacterial load in the nose to episodes of lung infection in Indigenous children
  • To explore the role of respiratory human papilloma virus in lung infections in Indigenous children.

Lung infections such as pneumonia are common in Indigenous children, and can lead to repeated hospitalisation and permanent lung damage. They are also an important cause of preventable death in children. This study will look at the role of bacteria and viruses in lung infections, and will inform interventions to reduce the burden and consequences of lung infections in Indigenous children.

Implications for policy and practice:

Our research will help to determine the contribution that viruses and bacterial load make to respiratory disease.

Our research has found: 
  • Hospital and remote clinic note reviews have been completed for 225 eligible children.  Selection of specimens and analysis will be completed in 2013.
  • New bacterial load assays have been established; a new Streptococcus pneumoniae/Staphylococcus aureus duplex assay and an Haemophilus influenzae assay which excludes the closely related Haemophilus haemolyticus.
  • 261 Nasopharyngeal swabs from children hospitalised with lung infection have been analysed for bacterial load. These results are undergoing analysis.
  • To date, 40 nasopharyngeal swabs from children less than six months of age have been tested for human papaloma virus; all were negative.  Further testing will be undertaken, including specimens from children hospitalised with acute lower respiratory tract infections.
Chief investigator:
Project manager:
Contact information:
Project dates:

The project commenced in 2012 and will conclude in 2014.

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 
  • Heidi Smith‐Vaughan, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Allen Cheng, Monash University and The Alfred Hospital
  • Anne Chang, Menzies School of Health Research and Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute
  • Ian Mackay, Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute
  • Paul Torzillo, University of Sydney
  • Danielle Wurzel, Queensland Health.