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Influenza Immunization in Lupus Erythematosus: Safe, Effective?

EVELYN V. HESS, M.D., F.A.C.P.; and BEVRA HAHN, M.D.
Ann Intern Med. 1978;88(6):833-834. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-88-6-833
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The threat of a swine influenza epidemic in 1976 reawakened interest in influenza immunization in patients with immunologic disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus and other connective tissue diseases. Could these patients safely receive foreign viral antigens without a worsening of their disease? Would the vaccine be effective in these patients? The 1976 National Influenza Immunization Program gave investigators the opportunity to answer these important questions.

The survival of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus has markedly improved in recent years. In 1953, approximately 20% of patients were alive after 5 years; recent studies estimate survival of 80% to 90% at

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