Burden of four vaccine preventable diseases in older adults

Maartje Kristensen, Alies van Lier, Renske Eilers, Scott A McDonald, Wim Opstelten, Nicoline van der Maas, Wim van der Hoek, Mirjam E Kretzschmar, Mark M Nielen, Hester E de Melker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Implementation of additional targeted vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases in the older adults is under discussion in different countries. When considering the added value of such preventive measures, insight into the current disease burden will assist in prioritization. The aim of this study was derive the first estimates of the disease burden in adults aged 50 years or over in the Netherlands for influenza, pertussis, pneumococcal disease and herpes zoster.

METHODS: The average annual disease burden for these four diseases in the Netherlands was calculated for the period 2010-2013 using the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) measure. Disease models and parameters were obtained from previous research. Where possible we adapted these models specifically for older adults and applied age-specific parameters derived from literature. The disease burden based on these adapted models and parameters was compared with the disease burden based on the general population models.

RESULTS: The estimated average annual disease burden was from high to low: pneumococcal disease (37,223 DALYs/year), influenza (7941 DALYs/year), herpes zoster (942 DALYs/year), and pertussis (812 DALYs/year). The adaptation of models and parameters specifically for the elderly resulted in a higher disease burden compared to the use of general population models.

CONCLUSIONS: Among older adults, the disease burden in the period 2010-2013 was highest for pneumococcal disease, mostly because of high mortality, followed by influenza. Disease burden of herpes zoster and pertussis was relatively low and consisted mostly of years lived with disability. Better information on the course of infectious diseases and long-term consequences would enable more accurate estimation of disease burden in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-9
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Netherlands
  • aged
  • aged, 80 and over
  • cost of illness
  • epidemiology
  • herpes zoster
  • humans
  • influenza
  • middle aged
  • pneumococcal infections
  • quality-adjusted life years
  • statistical models
  • vaccination
  • whooping cough


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