Adult Immunisation Definitions

There is a really useful set of definitions relevant to adult immunisation in the SAATI Report (Adult Vaccination: A Key Component of Healthy Ageing)

Adult immunisation
Ensuring on-going protection against vaccine-preventable diseases in adulthood through the implementation of effective vaccination programmes, especially for adults aged above 50 years.

Adult vaccination schedule
A set of key recommendations per vaccine and age group issued by a public health authority to guide the adult population in its vaccination choices.
■ Specific at-risk population groups may also be referred.
■ National schedules are published on the ECDC website.

Antimicrobial resistance
The reduced susceptibility of pathogenic bacteria to one or more antimicrobial agents (antibiotics) administered in clinical medicine.

At-risk groups
Individuals with certain medical or social conditions who may have a higher risk of contracting certain infectious diseases than the rest of the population.

A life-threatening infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria. May also affect internal organs and/or the skin.

Healthy ageing policies
Policy frameworks involving actions that promote healthy ageing and address the impact of an ageing society on workforce, retirement policies, public health and social protection.

Herd protection
Situation in which enough of a population is vaccinated against an infectious organism
making spread of disease less likely and reducing risk of disease in unvaccinated individuals.

Herpes zoster (shingles)
A painful, blistering skin rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. After a chickenpox infection, the virus remains inactive in certain nerves in the body. Shingles occurs when the virus becomes active again years later. Symptoms include severe pain, tingling or burning and the appearance of a rash and small blisters that may burst and crust over. The triggers for viral reactivation are unknown, and it is impossible to predict if and when shingles will occur.

Reduced immune responsiveness as a result of inherited defects or infection, or by administration of immunosuppressive drugs, by irradiation, by malnutrition, and by certain disease processes, e.g. cancer.

An acute respiratory disease caused by human influenza viruses. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, runny nose, sore throat, non-productive cough and a general feeling of ill-health.

Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD)
An acute and potentially life-threatening disease caused by different strains of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia. Invasive infection can lead to septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis.

Life-course approach to immunisation
Stresses vaccination through all stages of life, including the adult years, as a cost-effective strategy to promote healthy and active ageing.

Potentially life-threatening inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord (a.k.a. meninges). Most common symptoms include headache, neck stiffness, associated with fever, altered consciousness, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia.

Pertussis (whooping cough)
A highly contagious acute respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Symptoms in children include severe cough of at least 14 days, plus paroxysmal cough, inspiratory whoop or post tussive vomiting. Symptoms in adults can be mild and unspecific. Adults appear to serve as the reservoir of the organism.

An acute infection of the lung tissue. Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for approximately 40% of cases. Morbidity and mortality are highest among the very young (<5 years of age) and the older people (>60 years of age).

Potentially life-threatening infection in which large amounts of bacteria are present in the blood (blood poisoning).

An illness caused by contamination of wounds by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Leads to muscular spasms that sometimes result in death. Tetanus is not transmitted from person to person.