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The Efficacy of Vaccines to Prevent Infectious Diseases in the Elderly

  • Dietmar Herndler-Brandstetter
  • Beatrix Grubeck-Loebenstein
Part of the Medical Intelligence Unit book series (MIUN)

Abstract

Infectious diseases still represent a major challenge to human progress and survival. Especially elderly persons are more frequently and severely affected by infectious diseases and they display distinct features with respect to clinical presentation and treatment. Although vaccinations are considered a vital medical procedure for preventing morbidity and mortality caused by infectious diseases, the protective effect of vaccinations is abrogated in elderly persons. This is due to a decline in the functions of the immune system referred to as immunosenescence. The first part of this chapter will therefore summarize the status quo of the efficacy of vaccines in preventing morbidity and mortality caused by typical infectious diseases in the elderly, such as influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis. The second part will then elucidate the underlying age-related mechanisms which may contribute to the decreased efficacy of vaccines. Based on the complex mechanisms involved in immunosenescence, strategies will be outlined which may be succesfful in enhancing protective immune responses following vaccination in elderly persons.

Keywords

Influenza Virus Herpes Zoster Elderly Person Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Influenza Vaccine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietmar Herndler-Brandstetter
    • 1
  • Beatrix Grubeck-Loebenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biomedical Aging ResearchAustrian Academy of SciencesInnsbruckAustria

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