Study to map this season's flu virus in Seattle

Researchers are creating a citywide network to detect and track influenza.

Media Contact: Susan Gregg -, 206.616.6730

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

The study will recruit 10,000 Seattle residents and visitors who show cold symptoms in the current season. The project will create a first-of-its-kind citywide network for infectious disease tracking. 

Volunteers who agree to participate at one of the designated kiosks will be asked to provide a simple 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 to better understand how illnesses spread throughout the community.

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

  • University of Washington Hall Health Center, 4060 East Stevens Way
  • University of Washington Magnuson Health Sciences Center, 1959 NE Pacific St.
  • University of Washington Husky Union Building, 4001 E Stevens Way NE
  • UW Medicine Pioneer Square Clinic, 206 Third Ave. S
  • St. Martin’s De Porres Shelter, 1561 Alaskan Way S
  • Hutch Kids Child Care Center, 1210 Valley St.

“A century after the great flu pandemic that sickened one-third of the world’s population, influenza remains a potent threat to global health,” said Trevor Bedford, Fred Hutch’s research and lead data scientist for the study. “The Seattle Flu Study will provide a more detailed understanding than we have today of how the flu virus spreads, allowing us to develop guidance and tools to curb or even prevent transmission.”

Helen Chu, the study's lead clinician and an assistant professor of medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington School of Medicine, added, “Our hope is the study will also help inform efforts by public health officials to prepare for potential pandemic threats.”

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.

“The Brotman Baty Institute was created for projects like these that demand deeper levels of cooperation between Seattle’s major research institutions,” said Jay Shendure, the institute's scientific director and a professor of genome sciences at the UW School of Medicine. “Together we are making real strides in precision medicine research and public health.”

 To learn more, visit the study website.

For details about UW Medicine, please visit

Tags:public healthflu

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