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African Americans With Systemic Lupus More Responsive To Flu Vaccine Than Patients Of European Descent

New research shows that African Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) had a higher antibody response to influenza vaccination than European American patients. Treatment with prednisone, a history of hemolytic anemia, and increased disease flares were also linked to low antibody response in SLE patients who received the flu vaccine according to the study now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a peer-reviewed journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

The ACR estimates that up to 322,000 adult Americans are burdened with SLE, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system fails to recognize the difference between healthy cells and foreign substances (bacteria and viruses), producing autoantibodies that attack a person's own tissues and organs. Medical evidence shows that infectious diseases are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for lupus patients, responsible for up to 23% of all hospitalization and 20% to 50% of all deaths. Current clinical practice advises vaccination against common infectious diseases, such as influenza, for patients with lupus to reduce their risk of infection.

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