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Tohoku J Exp Med. 2013;229(1):29-34.

Influenza vaccination in autoimmune rheumatic disease patients.

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  • 1Clinic for Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Military Medical Academy, Belgrade, Serbia.


Patients suffering from autoimmune rheumatic diseases have significantly higher risk of developing various infections compared to the healthy population. Our study included patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (n = 30), rheumatoid arthritis (n = 37) or Sjögren's syndrome (n = 32), with stable underlying diseases status. In November 2010, 47 patients, including 35 subjects vaccinated annually during 2006-2010, received immunization against influenza with trivalent inactivated split vaccine, whereas 52 patients did not accept proposed vaccination in that period. The presence of viral (primarily influenza) and bacterial infections, parameters of disease activity (from the date of vaccination until April 2011), and titers of antibodies against A H1N1 were then monitored in vaccinated and unvaccinated patients. We have identified the importance of predisposing factors for influenza occurrence (i.e. previous respiratory infections and vaccinations in last five years, age, sex, type of disease and duration, medications, smoking) in those groups of patients. The incidence of influenza or bacterial complications (bronchitis) among vaccinated patients was significantly lower, compared to the non-vaccinated group. Importantly, there was no case of exacerbation of the underlying disease. The last vaccination in 2010 reduced the risk of influenza by 87%, but previous bacterial infections (bronchitis and pneumonia) increased influenza risk significantly. In the present study, we have shown the efficiency, sufficient immunogenicity and safety of modern influenza vaccine application in patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis or Sjögren's syndrome.

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