Public acceptability of a technology-mediated stool sample collection platform to inform community-based surveillance of infectious intestinal disease: a pilot study

Rowan Davies, Miren Iturriza-Gómara, Rebecca Glennon-Alty, Alex J. Elliot, Roberto Vivancos, Anica Alvarez Nishio, Nigel A. Cunliffe, Daniel Hungerford*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: In the UK approximately a quarter of the population experience infectious intestinal disease (IID) each year. However, only 2% present to primary care, preventing a true determination of community burden and pathogen aetiology. The aim of this pilot study was to gauge public acceptability of a technology-mediated platform for reporting episodes of IID and for providing stool samples. 

Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional online survey design, targeting individuals 16 + years old within Liverpool City Region, UK. Information sought included demographics, comfortability of reporting illness and IID symptoms, willingness to provide stool, and favoured stool-provision method. Univariable logistic regression was used to examine associations between demographic variables and providing a stool sample. Odds ratios (OR) and associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were produced. 

Results: A total of 174 eligible participants completed the survey, with 69% female. The sample was skewed towards younger populations, with 2.9% aged 65 + years. Nearly a third (29%) had a household income of less than £30,000 per annum and 70% had attained a degree or higher. The majority identified as White British (81%) and 11% identified as ethnicities typically grouped Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME). Three quarters of participants were either ‘Comfortable’ or ‘Very Comfortable’ with reporting illness (75%) and with answering symptom-related questions (79%); 78% reported that they would provide a stool sample. Upon univariable analysis, increasing age – being 55 + (OR 6.28, 95% CI 1.15–117.48), and lower income (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.02–6.60), was associated with willingness to provide a stool sample. Additionally, respondents identifying as BAME ethnicities and men may be less inclined to provide a stool sample. 

Conclusions: This pilot study assessed the acceptability of technology-mediated platforms for reporting IID and provision of stool samples in the community. Respondents were biased towards younger, technologically inclined, more affluent and educated populations. Acceptability for reporting illness and providing a stool sample through technology-mediated platforms was high. While older populations were under-represented, they were more likely to agree to provide a stool sample. Qualitative research is required to better reach older and more deprived populations, and to understand potential age, gender and ethnic differences in compliance with stool sampling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number958
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Gastrointestinal Infections, a partnership between the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the University of Liverpool and the University of Warwick. DH is funded by a NIHR Post-doctoral Fellowship (PDF-2018–11-ST2-006) for this research project. AE is affiliated with the NIHR HPRU in Emergency Preparedness and Response, a partnership between King’s College London, UKHSA and the University of East Anglia. DH and RV are also affiliated to the NIHR HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, a partnership between UKHSA, the University of Liverpool in collaboration with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Oxford. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care or UKHSA. The study funder had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.

DH and MIG report grants on the topic of rotavirus vaccines, outside of the submitted work, from GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Sanofi Pasteur and Merck and Co (Kenilworth, New Jersey, US) after the closure of Sanofi Pasteur-MSD in December 2016. NAC reports grants on the topic of rotavirus vaccines, outside of the submitted work, from GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. MIG and NAC also report personal fees for consultancy, outside the submitted work, from GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. AE, RV, RG-A and RD have nothing to disclose.

Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2022.

Citation: Davies, R., Iturriza-Gómara, M., Glennon-Alty, R. et al. Public acceptability of a technology-mediated stool sample collection platform to inform community-based surveillance of infectious intestinal disease: a pilot study. BMC Public Health 22, 958 (2022).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13307-5

Keywords

  • Application
  • Community
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Patient and public engagement
  • Self-reporting
  • Smartphone
  • Surveillance
  • Survey
  • Telehealth

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Public acceptability of a technology-mediated stool sample collection platform to inform community-based surveillance of infectious intestinal disease: a pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this