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Collecting Infectious Disease Data in Nursing Homes


  • CDC needs data on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases that impact those who live and work in nursing homes.
  • Abt conducts studies and surveillance for CDC.
  • Abt advances knowledge on prevention and control of infectious diseases in nursing homes.
The Challenge

Infectious diseases can spread quickly through nursing homes, leading to high morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable population. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored this, causing over 1.7 million SARS-CoV-2 cases and almost 168,000 deaths among nursing home residents as of September 10, 2023. Data are needed to inform policy and procedures for current and future public health risks. However, conducting public health research and surveillance in the nursing home setting can be challenging due to legal and regulatory issues, mistrust of investigators, time constraints, and more.

The Approach

Under a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Abt established the Nursing Home Public Health Response Network (NH PHRN) which comprises eight academic partners, their clusters of nursing homes, and a central laboratory. NH PHRN is a platform to conduct multiple concurrent studies in rapid response to urgent public health priorities in this population. Abt uses our proven processes and procedures to manage the network and coordinate the multi-site studies.

Two studies are currently underway. The first study, Kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 Shedding in Nursing Home Staff and Residents (INHERENT), is examining the viral kinetics and long-term test positivity in both nursing home residents and staff. The second study is gathering key physical, operational, and other data on nursing homes in the network. Five additional protocols are in development.

The Results

Abt generates weekly analytic datasets and updates dashboards to keep the CDC apprised of study progress and provide data for ongoing analyses. The data from this project will provide key information needed for public health decision-making to protect the vulnerable population of nursing home residents and staff.

Learn More:


Tiffany Harris, Ph.D., M.S.

Tiffany Harris, Ph.D.

Principal Associate, Infectious Diseases and Public Health