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Influenza: the virus and prophylaxis with inactivated influenza vaccine in “at risk” groups, including COPD patients

Authors Arnt-Ove Hovden, Rebecca Jane Cox, Lars Reinhardt Haaheim

Published 15 October 2007 Volume 2007:2(3) Pages 229—240

Arnt-Ove Hovden, Rebecca Jane Cox, Lars Reinhardt Haaheim

The Influenza Centre, The Gade Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Influenza is a major respiratory pathogen, which exerts a huge human and economic toll on society. Influenza is a vaccine preventable disease, however, the vaccine strains must be annually updated due to the continuous antigenic changes in the virus. Inactivated influenza vaccines have been used for over 50 years and have an excellent safety record. Annual vaccination is therefore recommended for all individuals with serious medical conditions, like COPD, and protects the vaccinee against influenza illness and also against hospitalization and death. In COPD patients, influenza infection can lead to exacerbations resulting in reduced quality of life, hospitalization and death in the most severe cases. Although there is only limited literature on the use of influenza vaccination solely in COPD patients, there is clearly enough evidence to recommend annual vaccination in this group. This review will focus on influenza virus and prophylaxis with inactivated influenza vaccines in COPD patients and other “at risk” groups to reduce morbidity, save lives, and reduce health care costs.

Keywords: influenza, vaccine, immune response, efficacy, COPD

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