The Pregnancy and Influenza Multinational Epidemiologic (PRIME) study: a prospective cohort study of the impact of influenza during pregnancy among women in middle-income countries

Reprod Health. 2018 Sep 21;15(1):159. doi: 10.1186/s12978-018-0600-x.


Background: The World Health Organization identifies pregnant women as at high-risk for severe influenza, but influenza vaccines are underutilized among pregnant women. Data on influenza burden during pregnancy are largely limited to high-income countries and data on the impact of influenza on birth and perinatal outcomes are scarce.

Methods/design: This prospective, longitudinal cohort study of pregnant women in middle-income countries is designed to address three primary objectives: 1) to evaluate the effect of laboratory-confirmed influenza during pregnancy on pregnancy and perinatal outcomes; 2) to estimate the incidences of all-cause acute respiratory illness and laboratory-confirmed influenza during pregnancy; and 3) to examine the clinical spectrum of illness associated with influenza viruses. Through a multi-country network approach, three sites aim to enroll cohorts of 1500-3000 pregnant women just before local influenza seasons. Women aged ≥ 18 years with expected delivery dates ≥ 8 weeks after the start of the influenza season are eligible. Women are followed throughout pregnancy through twice weekly surveillance for influenza symptoms (≥ 1 of myalgia, cough, runny nose, sore throat, or difficulty breathing) and have mid-turbinate nasal swabs collected for influenza virus testing during illness episodes. Primary outcomes include relative risk of preterm birth and mean birth weight among term singleton infants of women with and without reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-confirmed influenza during pregnancy. Gestational age is determined by ultrasound at < 28 weeks gestation and birth weight is measured by digital scales using standardized methods. Sites are primarily urban in Bangkok, Thailand; Lima, Peru; and Nagpur, India. All sites recruit from antenatal clinics at referral hospitals and conduct surveillance using telephone calls, messaging applications, or home visits. Nasal swabs are self-collected by participants in Thailand and by study staff in Peru and India. During the first year (2017), sites enrolled participants during March-May in Peru and May-July in India and Thailand; 4779 women were enrolled.

Discussion: This study aims to generate evidence of the impact of influenza during pregnancy to inform decisions by Ministries of Health, healthcare providers, and pregnant women in middle-income countries about the value of influenza vaccination during pregnancy.

Keywords: Birth weight; Influenza; Pregnancy; Premature birth; Respiratory infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Influenza, Human / diagnosis
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Peru / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology*
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thailand / epidemiology