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Public Health Researchers Investigate Virus Transmission in Households

Dr. Kate Ellingson and Dr. Karen Lutrick lead the regional site for a national CDC funded research study to better understand factors associated with the spread of COVID-19 and influenza within households.


Researchers from the college are leading the Arizona Household Virus Study, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Respiratory Virus Transmission Network, which will investigate the transmission of COVID-19 and influenza within households.

According to the CDC, the Respiratory Virus Transmission Network is designed to identify risk factors of influenza and COVID-19 infection among vaccinated and unvaccinated households.

“The Arizona Household Virus Study will contribute to the national picture of household transmission of COVID-19 and influenza,” said Kate Ellingson, PhD, assistant research professor in the college, “It will help us understand transmission rates in households as well as risk factors that influence transmission, such as household size, composition and vaccination status.”

Dr. Ellingson and Karen Lutrick, PhD, assistant professor in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson Department of Family and Community Medicine, are leading the Arizona Household Virus Study, which will run through June 2023. The study will look at the drivers of household transmission including virus characteristics, vaccination status, and the influence of physical and behavioral factors.

Southern Arizona was selected as a regional site because of Drs. Ellingson and Lutrick’s experience evaluating COVID-19, and the region’s diverse population and high percentage of multigenerational families living in a single household.

“Dr. Ellingson and Dr. Lutrick are the ideal researchers to lead the Arizona portion of this vital national CDC study,” said Iman Hakim, MD, Dean of the Zuckerman College of Public Health. “They bring experience and expertise to the job, including current experience working on COVID-19 research with the CDC.”

The Respiratory Virus Transmission Network is one of the CDC’s Vaccine Effectiveness Networks. To carry out the study, the CDC has partnered with Vanderbilt University, which is coordinating seven regional study sites. In addition to Vanderbilt and UArizona Health Sciences, other sites include the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, the University of Colorado, the University of North Carolina, Stanford University and Columbia University.

Learn more about the Arizona Household Virus Study online at www.hvs.arizona.edu or contact a study coordinator at 520-621-8357 or AZHVS-ArizonaHVS@arizona.edu.

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