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Sports Med. 2014 Oct;44(10):1361-76. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0217-3.

Vaccination in elite athletes.

Author information

1
Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene, Saarland University, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center, Building 43, 66421, Homburg/Saar, Germany, barbara.gaertner@uks.eu.

Abstract

Public health vaccination guidelines cannot be easily transferred to elite athletes. An enhanced benefit from preventing even mild diseases is obvious but stronger interference from otherwise minor side effects has to be considered as well. Thus, special vaccination guidelines for adult elite athletes are required. In most of them, protection should be strived for against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and varicella. When living or traveling to endemic areas, the athletes should be immune against tick-borne encephalitis, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, poliomyelitis, typhoid fever, and meningococcal disease. Vaccination against pneumococci and Haemophilus influenzae type b is only relevant in athletes with certain underlying disorders. Rubella and papillomavirus vaccination might be considered after an individual risk-benefit analysis. Other vaccinations such as cholera, rabies, herpes zoster, and Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) cannot be universally recommended for athletes at present. Only for a very few diseases, a determination of antibody titers is reasonable to avoid unnecessary vaccinations or to control efficacy of an individual's vaccination (especially for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis B and, partly, hepatitis A). Vaccinations should be scheduled in a way that possible side effects are least likely to occur in periods of competition. Typically, vaccinations are well tolerated by elite athletes, and resulting antibody titers are not different from the general population. Side effects might be reduced by an optimal selection of vaccines and an appropriate technique of administration. Very few discipline-specific considerations apply to an athlete's vaccination schedule mainly from the competition and training pattern as well as from the typical geographical distribution of competitive sites.

PMID:
24986118
PMCID:
PMC4171584
DOI:
10.1007/s40279-014-0217-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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