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African-Americans with SLE more responsive to flu vaccine than patients of European descent
Date:5/18/2011

New research shows that African Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) had a higher antibody response to influenza vaccination than European American patients. Treatment with prednisone, a history of hemolytic anemia, and increased disease flares were also linked to low antibody response in SLE patients who received the flu vaccine according to the study now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a peer-reviewed journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

The ACR estimates that up to 322,000 adult Americans are burdened with SLE, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system fails to recognize the difference between healthy cells and foreign substances (bacteria and viruses), producing autoantibodies that attack a person's own tissues and organs. Medical evidence shows that infectious diseases are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for lupus patients, responsible for up to 23% of all hospitalization and 20% to 50% of all deaths. Current clinical practice advises vaccination against common infectious diseases, such as influenza, for patients with lupus to reduce their risk of infection.

"SLE patients are more susceptible to infection which is likely the result of immunosuppressive therapy and inherent deficiencies of the immune system," said lead researcher Dr. Judith James, Chair of the Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. "Our study explored multiple factors which influence response to influenza vaccination in SLE patients with active and inactive disease activity."

For the current study, the research team collected blood specimens and disease activity details from 72 SLE patients prior to vaccination and at 2, 6, and 12 weeks following influenza vaccination. An equal number of healthy controls were also recruited and foll
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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