Advice on health categories
In general, research involving infection by a pathogenic agent should only be coded as Infection and not coded to the affected target site in the body.
e.g. studies of malaria should be coded as 100% Infection and not Blood
e.g. respiratory infections should be coded as 100% Infection and not Respiratory.
This is in line with the coding guidance on assigning health categories to base coding on the main disease – not pathogenesis or site of action.
Studies involving the acute immune response to infection should be coded as Infection. However natural tolerance or host immunity to infection should be coded as Inflammatory and Immune System.
In circumstances where the research is focused only on a downstream consequence of the infection it may be coded to the appropriate Health Category.
e.g. surgery on diseased liver from Hepatitis C infection can be coded as 50% Infection and 50% Oral and Gastrointestinal.
Studies that involve infection of a specific target patient group should be coded as 50% Infection and 50% to the appropriate Health Category.
e.g. respiratory infection in people with cystic fibrosis should be coded as 50% Infection 50% Congenital Disorders.
Infection excludes TSEs, CJD and prion studies which should be coded as Neurological regardless of whether the study is investigating transmission or mechanism of disease.
Advice on research activities
If the studies involve investigating infectious agents which cause disease they should not be coded in the 1 Underpinning code group.
If the aim of the research is to study the transmission, life cycle or biochemistry of the agent it should be coded as 2.2 Physical risks. If the research involves studying host responses to infection it should be coded 2.1 Endogenous risks. Studies of resistance to therapeutics, including the characterisation of antibiotic resistance genes and mechanisms in bacteria, should be coded 5.1 Pharmaceuticals.
Studies on 3 Prevention of infection, 4 Detection and Diagnosis or 6 Treatment Evaluation should be allocated within those code groups.
Studies on bacteria or yeast can fall into 1 Underpinning if they are being studied as model systems examining conserved genes or proteins e.g. DNA repair, cell cycle.