Taniguchi K, Ikeda S, Hagiwara Y, Tsuzuki D, Klai. Epidemiology and burden of illness of seasonal influenza among the elderly in Japan: A systematic literature review and vaccine effectiveness meta-analysis. Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2020 Sep 30
Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, and ICHUSHI were searched for articles on seasonal influenza in Japan, published between 1997 and 2018, in English or Japanese. Grey literature was also assessed. A random-effects meta-analysis characterized VE of influenza vaccines among studies reporting this information.
Results: Of 1,147 identified articles, 143 met inclusion criteria. Reported incidence rates varied considerably depending on study design, season, study setting and, most importantly, case definition. In nursing homes, the maximum reported attack rate was 55.2% and in the 16 articles reporting mortality rates, case fatality rates varied from 0.009% to 14.3%. Most hospitalizations were in people aged >60; healthcare costs were partially mitigated by vaccine administration. Meta-analysis estimated overall VE of 19.1% (95% CI: 2.3% - 33.0%) with a high proportion of heterogeneity (I2 : 89.1%). There was a trend of lower VE in older people (40.1% [-57.3-77.2] in the <65 group; 12.9% [-8.0-29.8] in those 65; P = .21).
Conclusions: Despite differences between studies that make comparisons challenging, the influenza burden in elderly Japanese is significant. While vaccines are effective, current vaccination programs offer suboptimal protection. Health economic data and cost-effectiveness analyses were limited and represent areas for policy-relevant future research.
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