Respiratory diseases are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children worldwide. Furthermore, a chronic cough is one of the most common reasons for referral to paediatric respiratory services in Australia.

Despite this, many clinicians ignore the possible significance of a cough, and a high proportion of families have multiple consultations before they are referred to a specialist centre. In this way, chronic cough becomes a significant burden on the healthcare system, as well as impairing quality of life for children and their families. This is especially so for First Nations Australians, among whom there is a high incidence of respiratory diseases.

What we do

QUT’s Cough and Airways Research Group (CAARG) at the Centre for Children’s Health Research focuses on the cause, prevention and management of acute and chronic respiratory diseases in children, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The research program encompasses public health interventions, such as vaccines, through to clinical interventions, such as the appropriate use of antibiotics and individualised management plans.

Led by Prof Anne Chang, this research program has improved the management of chronic wet cough in childhood and the results have been translated directly to clinical care and included in international chronic cough guidelines. Outcomes of the research have ensured that healthcare providers have clear information about the most effective and cost-effective models of providing care for children with chronic wet cough and other common respiratory illnesses, directly benefitting patients and their families.

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