Author Affiliations: PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) and Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Neuzil); and Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn (Dr Griffin).
Influenza is an acute respiratory disease that causes illness in individuals of all ages. Influenza causes repeated infections throughout life, is highly communicable, and is responsible for annual epidemics of varying severity. While influenza leads to a self-limited respiratory disease in the majority of individuals, it is deadly in others. Influenza is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable hospitalizations and deaths in both children and adults in the United States.1,2 The seriousness of influenza in young children, older adults, and in persons of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions is the reason these individuals and their close contacts are targeted for influenza vaccination each year.2
Neuzil KM, Griffin MR. Vaccine Safety—Achieving the Proper Balance. JAMA. 2005;294(21):2763-2765. doi:10.1001/jama.294.21.2763