Vaccination Infrequent Among Patients with IBD

Improved immunization status could reduce risks associated with immunosuppressive therapies

THURSDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), treatment with long-term immunosuppressive therapies increases the risk of vaccine-preventable illnesses, but immunization against these illnesses is uncommon, according to a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Gil Y. Melmed, M.D., of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, and colleagues surveyed 169 IBD patients about their medical and vaccination histories and conducted blood tests in a subgroup of patients to determine hepatitis A, hepatitis B and varicella immune status.

The researchers found that only 45 percent of subjects remembered being vaccinated for tetanus in the previous decade while only 28 percent reported receiving annual flu shots and 9 percent reported receiving pneumococcal vaccine. They also found that 44 percent of the subjects were at risk for hepatitis B virus, but that only 28 percent had been vaccinated against it.

"Efforts to improve immunization status among patients with IBD and other chronic, immune-mediated conditions are needed," the authors conclude.

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