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Open Access Research article

Changes in age distribution of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome: an implication of China’s expanded program of immunization

Xiaozhou He, Shiwen Wang, Xiaoxia Huang and Xiaofang Wang*

Author Affiliations

National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC, Beijing, China

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:394  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-394

Published: 26 April 2013

Abstract

Background

Vaccination against hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) has been applied successfully for more than 20 years in China, and since 2008, the government has implemented the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) in regions with high incidence. In this study, we analyzed the EPI-related changes in age distribution in reported cases of HFRS and proposed new recommendations for prevention and control of the disease.

Methods

Data relating to incidence of HFRS, geographical location and age distribution were collected through the China Information System for Disease Control and Prevention (CISDCP) from 2005 to 2010. Excel and SPSS 18.0 software, χ2 tests and descriptive methodology were used for analysis of the data.

Results

A total 75 434 HFRS cases were reported in 28 provinces in China between 2005 and 2010. The majority of HFRS cases occurred in adults aged 30 to 55 and this group accounted for 68.3% of the total. With the implementation of the immunization program, HFRS age distribution has clearly changed in recent years. The proportion of HFRS cases among individuals targeted by EPI (16–60 years of age) decreased from 86.9% in 2005 to 81.9% in 2010. However, the proportion of cases among the non-vaccinated group aged <16 and >60 had increased from 13.1% in 2005 to 18.1% in 2010. Notably, in the >60 age group the proportion rose from 8.8% in 2005 to 14.7% in 2010. These differences were statistically significant.

Conclusion

HFRS vaccination has played an important role in HFRS control and prevention in China. However, since the proportion of HFRS cases over 60 years old has increased significantly since EPI was implemented, it is recommended that the age limit for vaccination be reconsidered. This finding may have practical implications for more effective HFRS vaccination in the future.

Keywords:
Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome; Expanded program of immunization; Age distribution; China