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      Taking stock of infections and antibiotic resistance in the elderly and long-term care facilities: A survey of existingand upcoming challenges

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          Treating elderly patients with infections represents one of the greatest challenges to health-care providers. Older adults are the largest growing sector of the population and suffer excessively from infectious diseases such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and skin and soft-tissue infections. Often because of disabilities, the elderly require treatment of infectious diseases in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). As a result of antibiotic use, LTCFs have become “reservoirs of resistance” and multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens are frequently recovered. Clinicians also need to be aware of the impairment of immune function and other emerging chronic infections (HIV, HCV) that are now present in the elderly. Despite vigilance regarding this issue, delays in diagnosis and initiation of therapy are common. This article reviews the changing landscape of infections in the elderly and the challenge these syndromes present in the context of an increasing older population that requires dedicated resources.

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          Effectiveness of influenza vaccine in the community-dwelling elderly.

          Reliable estimates of the effectiveness of influenza vaccine among persons 65 years of age and older are important for informed vaccination policies and programs. Short-term studies may provide misleading pictures of long-term benefits, and residual confounding may have biased past results. This study examined the effectiveness of influenza vaccine in seniors over the long term while addressing potential bias and residual confounding in the results. Data were pooled from 18 cohorts of community-dwelling elderly members of one U.S. health maintenance organization (HMO) for 1990-1991 through 1999-2000 and of two other HMOs for 1996-1997 through 1999-2000. Logistic regression was used to estimate the effectiveness of the vaccine for the prevention of hospitalization for pneumonia or influenza and death after adjustment for important covariates. Additional analyses explored for evidence of bias and the potential effect of residual confounding. There were 713,872 person-seasons of observation. Most high-risk medical conditions that were measured were more prevalent among vaccinated than among unvaccinated persons. Vaccination was associated with a 27% reduction in the risk of hospitalization for pneumonia or influenza (adjusted odds ratio, 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68 to 0.77) and a 48% reduction in the risk of death (adjusted odds ratio, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.55). Estimates were generally stable across age and risk subgroups. In the sensitivity analyses, we modeled the effect of a hypothetical unmeasured confounder that would have caused overestimation of vaccine effectiveness in the main analysis; vaccination was still associated with statistically significant--though lower--reductions in the risks of both hospitalization and death. During 10 seasons, influenza vaccination was associated with significant reductions in the risk of hospitalization for pneumonia or influenza and in the risk of death among community-dwelling elderly persons. Vaccine delivery to this high-priority group should be improved. Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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            The efficacy of influenza vaccine in elderly persons. A meta-analysis and review of the literature.

            To quantify the protective efficacy of influenza vaccine in elderly persons. A MEDLINE search was done using the index terms influenza vaccine, vaccine efficacy, elderly, mortality, hospitalized, and pneumonia. Appropriate references in the initially selected articles were also reviewed. Only cohort observational studies with mortality assessment were included in the meta-analysis. In addition, 3 recent case-control studies, 2 cost-effectiveness studies, and 1 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial were reviewed. Vaccine and epidemic virus strains, age and sex of patients, severity of illness, patient status, and study design were recorded. Upper respiratory illness, hospitalization, pneumonia, and mortality were used as outcome measures. In a meta-analysis of 20 cohort studies, the pooled estimates of vaccine efficacy (1-odds ratio) were 56% (95% Cl, 39% to 68%) for preventing respiratory illness, 53% (Cl, 35% to 66%) for preventing pneumonia, 50% (Cl, 28% to 65%) for preventing hospitalization, and 68% (Cl, 56% to 76%) for preventing death. Vaccine efficacy in the case-control studies ranged from 32% to 45% for preventing hospitalization for pneumonia, from 31% to 65% for preventing hospital deaths from pneumonia and influenza, from 43% to 50% for preventing hospital deaths from all respiratory conditions, and from 27% to 30% for preventing deaths from all causes. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed a 50% or greater reduction in influenza-related illness. Recent cost-effectiveness studies confirm the efficacy of influenza vaccine in reducing influenza-related morbidity and mortality and show that vaccine provides important cost savings per year per vaccinated person. Despite the paucity of randomized trials, many studies confirm that influenza vaccine reduces the risks for pneumonia, hospitalization, and death in elderly persons during an influenza epidemic if the vaccine strain is identical or similar to the epidemic strain. Influenza immunization is an indispensable part of the care of persons 65 years of age and older. Annual vaccine administration requires the attention of all physicians and public health organizations.
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              Prevention of herpes zoster: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

              These recommendations represent the first statement by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on the use of a live attenuated vaccine for the prevention of herpes zoster (zoster) (i.e., shingles) and its sequelae, which was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 25, 2006. This report summarizes the epidemiology of zoster and its sequelae, describes the zoster vaccine, and provides recommendations for its use among adults aged > or =60 years in the United States. Zoster is a localized, generally painful cutaneous eruption that occurs most frequently among older adults and immunocompromised persons. It is caused by reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus (VZV) decades after initial VZV infection is established. Approximately one in three persons will develop zoster during their lifetime, resulting in an estimated 1 million episodes in the United States annually. A common complication of zoster is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a chronic, often debilitating pain condition that can last months or even years. The risk for PHN in patients with zoster is 10%-18%. Another complication of zoster is eye involvement, which occurs in 10%-25% of zoster episodes and can result in prolonged or permanent pain, facial scarring, and loss of vision. Approximately 3% of patients with zoster are hospitalized; many of these episodes involved persons with one or more immunocompromising conditions. Deaths attributable to zoster are uncommon among persons who are not immunocompromised. Prompt treatment with the oral antiviral agents acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir decreases the severity and duration of acute pain from zoster. Additional pain control can be achieved in certain patients by supplementing antiviral agents with corticosteroids and with analgesics. Established PHN can be managed in certain patients with analgesics, tricyclic antidepressants, and other agents. Licensed zoster vaccine is a lyophilized preparation of a live, attenuated strain of VZV, the same strain used in the varicella vaccines. However, its minimum potency is at least 14-times the potency of single-antigen varicella vaccine. In a large clinical trial, zoster vaccine was partially efficacious at preventing zoster. It also was partially efficacious at reducing the severity and duration of pain and at preventing PHN among those developing zoster. Zoster vaccine is recommended for all persons aged > or =60 years who have no contraindications, including persons who report a previous episode of zoster or who have chronic medical conditions. The vaccine should be offered at the patient's first clinical encounter with his or her health-care provider. It is administered as a single 0.65 mL dose subcutaneously in the deltoid region of the arm. A booster dose is not licensed for the vaccine. Zoster vaccination is not indicated to treat acute zoster, to prevent persons with acute zoster from developing PHN, or to treat ongoing PHN. Before administration of zoster vaccine, patients do not need to be asked about their history of varicella (chickenpox) or to have serologic testing conducted to determine varicella immunity.

                Author and article information

                European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
                Akadémiai Kiadó, co-published with Springer Science+Business Media B.V., Formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers B.V.
                1 September 2011
                : 1
                : 3
                : 190-197
                [ 1 ] General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics Research Educational and Clinical Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, 44106, USA
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