Incidence of Microbial Infections in English UK Biobank Participants: Comparison with the General Population
Hilton B., Wilson D., O’Connell A-M., Ironmonger D., Rudkin JK., Allen N., Oliver I., Wyllie D.
AbstractUnderstanding the genetic and environmental risk factors for serious bacterial infections in ageing populations remains incomplete. Utilising the UK Biobank (UKB), a prospective cohort study of 500,000 adults aged 40-69 years at recruitment (2006-2010), could help address this.We assess the feasibility of linking an England-wide dataset of microbiological isolations to UKB participants, to enable characterisation of microbial infections within the UKB Cohort. Microbiological infections occurring in patients in England, as recorded in the Public Health England Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS), were linked to UKB participants using pseudonymised identifiers. By January 2015, ascertainment of laboratory reports from UKB participants by SGSS was estimated at 98%. 4.5% of English UKB participants had a positive microbiological isolate in 2015. Half of UKB isolates came from 12 laboratories, and 70% from 21 laboratories. Incidence rate ratios for microbial isolation, which is indicative of serious infection, from the UKB cohort relative to the comparably aged general population ranged from 0.6 to 1, compatible with the previously described healthy participant bias in UKB.Data on microbial isolations can be linked to UKB participants from January 2015 onwards. This linked data would offer new opportunities for research into infectious disease in older individuals.