Advanced age a risk factor for illness temporally associated with yellow fever vaccination

Michael Martin, Leisa H. Weld, Theodore F. Tsai, Gina T. Mootrey, Robert T. Chen, Manette Niu, Martin S. Cetron, Jeff Altman, Vernon Ansdell, Elizabeth Barnett, Michele Barry, Bradley Connor, David Freedman, Alejandra Gurtman, Elaine Jong, Phyllis Kozarsky, Russell McMullen, Jan Patterson, Bradley Sack, Mary E. WilsonMartin Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was notified of severe illnesses and one death, temporally associated with yellow fever (YF) vaccination, in two elderly U.S. residents. Because the cases were unusual and adverse events following YF vaccination had not been studied, we estimated age-related reporting rates for systemic illness following YF vaccination. We found that the rate of reported adverse events among elderly vaccinees was higher than among vaccinees 25 to 44 years of age. We also found two additional deaths among elderly YF vaccinees. These data signal a potential problem but are not sufficient to reliably estimate incidence rates or to understand potential underlying mechanisms; therefore, enhanced surveillance is needed. YF remains an important cause of severe illness and death, and travel to disease-endemic regions is increasing. For elderly travelers, the risk for severe illness and death due to YF infection should be balanced against the risk for systemic illness due to YF vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-951
Number of pages7
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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