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J Rheumatol. 1997 Jun;24(6):1198-202.

Microscopic polyangiitis after influenza vaccination.

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University of British Columbia (UBC), Division of Rheumatology, Vancouver, Canada.


We describe a case of microscopic polyangiitis involving skin and joints after influenza vaccination. Titers of antiinfluenza A antibody were markedly elevated in synovial fluid (SF) relative to those in serum. Antiinfluenza B antibodies were not present in SF but were present in serum, suggesting a reaction specifically involving antiinfluenza A antibodies localized to the affected joint. A review identified 16 other cases of vasculitis after influenza vaccination. The cases reclassified according to the Chapel Hill diagnostic criteria identified multiple forms of vasculitis including 7 other cases of microscopic polyangiitis. Three patients had similar illnesses after previous influenza vaccination or influenza-like illness. As in our case 11 cases resolved without recurrence. While this does not provide conclusive evidence that the vaccination caused the vasculitis, together with the serologic data we present it supports this hypothesis.

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