Protracted bacterial bronchitis (PBB) is a common cause of chronic wet cough in children. Many children with PBB experience flare-ups associated with recurrent chest infections. Repeated flare-ups increase the risk of children developing a severe lung disease called bronchiectasis. Diagnostic tests are needed to ensure doctors can treat PBB with medicines optimised to clear the specific germs underlying each child’s chest infection; however, this is often not possible without children undergoing general anaesthesia. Additionally, current tests aren’t designed to identify children at risk of recurrent infections after receiving treatment.

In this project, we are studying respiratory and breath specimens from children with PBB in order to understand more about the types of germs that drive the underlying chest infections. We are examining whether biomarkers in the breath of children with PBB could be used to develop a diagnostic test that could be done without general anaesthesia. We are also examining whether combinations of biomarkers in breath and standard respiratory specimens could be used to identify children at risk of recurrent PBB and bronchiectasis.

Funding: NHMRC Ideas Grant 1182929


Dr Robyn Marsh, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, Australia.

Dr Jane Hill, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Prof Anne Chang, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, Australia and Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

Lead investigator
Dr Robyn Marsh
Chief investigator
Prof Anne Chang
Project type
Project period