• To determine the 3-5 year clinical outcomes of children with recurrent protracted bacterial bronchitis (PBB)
  • To determine factors which predict recurrent PBB, including markers of inflammation and immune dysfunction.

PBB is a common cause of chronic cough in children. PBB was first described by our team in 2006 and since then has been incorporated into national and international paediatric guidelines. To date we are the only group in the world that has studied PBB prospectively. Although many children with PBB get better within two weeks, some have recurrent episodes.

The factors leading to recurrent PBB are currently unknown and form the basis of our studies. Our pilot data shows that children with recurrent PBB are more likely to develop the debilitating chronic respiratory illness, bronchiectasis. There is an unacceptably high prevalence of bronchiectasis in Australia’s Indigenous children.

Our study will involve clinical follow up of children with PBB for 3-5 years. We will use blood and lung fluid to identify markers of inflammation and immune dysfunction which may predict children at risk of recurrent PBB.

Implications for policy and practice:

This study will extend our previous work and will be the first study to clarify the clinical medium-term outcomes of the most common cause of chronic wet cough in children.

It will provide clinically important information and the examination of predictors of recurrent PBB may help identify children at most risk of recurrent episodes.

Chief investigator and project manager:
Contact information:
Project dates:

This project commenced in 2013 and will run until the end of 2017.

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • Anne Chang, Menzies School of Health Research
  • John Upham, University of Queensland and Princess Alexandra Hospital
  • Peter Gibson, University of Newcastle
  • Stephanie Yerkovich, University of Queensland and Queensland Lung Transplant Service, Prince Charles Hospital
  • Katherine Baines, University of Newcastle
  • Sandra Hodge, Royal Adelaide Hospital
  • Susan Pizzutto, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Ian Masters, Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute
  • Helen Buntain, Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute
  • Greg Hodge, Royal Adelaide Hospital.