Addressing gaps in the surveillance and response to influenza-like illness: Community pharmacy-based feasibility study

This project has strong potential to inform local and national preventative measures when integrated with other surveillance systems.

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Principal Investigator
Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ), Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR)
Public Contact
Nic Marshall - MRINZ Public relations Director​
Project Timeframe/Status
2023-10-10 -
In Process

Whakarāpopoto Rangahau Summary of Research

​​​The study aims to assess the feasibility of pharmacies participating in the surveillance of Influenza-like illnesses circulating in the community. Activities will mirror procedures currently in place in the sentinel General Practice surveillance programme led across Aotearoa New Zealand by ESR, whereby patients are invited to have a nose swab for testing and typing of eight respiratory viruses. 

This study will capture surveillance data from a population that has not accessed General Practitioners or Secondary services as a result of their respiratory infection.

Te Hiranga a Rangahau Research Impact

This project has strong potential to inform local and national preventative measures when integrated with other surveillance systems by:

  • Identifying changes in prevalence of circulating illnesses by enabling the surveillance of a disadvantaged population 
  • In communities that were disproportionally affected by influenza and SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks, increasing community participation surveillance by offering additional opportunities to participate in surveillance programmes has the potential to detect infection threats sooner, leading to greater opportunities to implement mitigation responses and reduce the burden on the public health system
  • Explore the potential to expand the role of pharmacies, particularly in rural or remote regions where access to GP services is limited and areas that do not currently have the access to the GP Sentinel Surveillance programme 
  • Increase representation of Māori and Pacific peoples in public health surveillance by building on pharmacist-patient relationships and empowering community driven collaboration. This project will support Māori and Pacific pharmacists and pharmacy students in their research participation as health care leaders.  

This project will support the Aotearoa/New Zealand data that contributes to improving influenza like illnesses surveillance internationally including vaccine development

Te Niwha

Kairangahau Research Personnel

Project Leaders 

Kyley Kerse – Head Pharmacist

Adj. Alex Semprini – Deputy Director

Research Team  

Professor Richard Beasley​
​​MRINZ​ | Senior Oversight​ 

Melemafi Porter
MRINZ​ | Pacific Advisor 

Dr Selwyn Te Paa​, Ngāti Whātua; Ngāpuhi; Waikato; Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga​
​​MRINZ​ | Māori Health Research Advisor​  

Trisha Falleni​, Ngāti Kuia, Ngati Koata, Ngati Apa Ki te Rā Tō, Rangitane o Wairau​
​​MRINZ​ | Māori Health Research Advisor​ 

Nick Shorrt
​​MRINZ​ | Database Development/Informatics 

Bianca Black
​​MRINZ​ | Study Monitor 

Dr Gabby Shorrt
​​MRINZ​ | Post-Doctoral Research Fellow 

Dr Sarah Jefferies
ESR | Key Research Advisor/Public Health Medicine Specialist 

Dr Andrea McNeill
​​ESR​ | Key Research Advisor/Epidemiology Team Leader​

Allie Eathorne
​​MRINZ​ | Statistician 

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Project Timeframe  

​2 Years 


Pharmacy Research Network Pharmacies embedded in Communities Across Aotearoa New Zealand 

Media Contact  

Nic Marshall 
MRINZ Public relations Director​