Background: Influenza virus is a major trigger of asthma exacerbation. Annual vaccination against influenza should be considered for asthmatics. However, the inoculation rates remain low. One reason may be the lack of evidence supporting the benefit of the vaccination for patients with asthma. Methods: We studied 115 adults with asthma in 2002-2003 and 67 in 2001-2002 and evaluated the effect of influenza vaccination on the prevention of asthma exacerbation during the winter season (December-March). Results: The rate of asthma exacerbation per person was significantly lower in asthmatics who received influenza vaccination (0.14 ± 0.4) during the 2002-2003 season than in asthmatics who did not (0.35 ± 0.61) (p = 0.037). During 2001-2002 season, the rate of asthma exacerbation in the vaccinated group (0.08 ± 0.41) appeared to be lower than that in the non-vaccinated group (0.27 ± 0.59). However, the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant (p = 0.143), presumably due to the low number of patients receiving vaccination. Severe adverse effects due to vaccination were not observed in the patients analyzed. Conclusions: Influenza vaccination during the winter season appears to be effective in the prevention of asthma exacerbation and should be recommended for patients with asthma.
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