Tetanus is a sporadic and relatively uncommon infection in Europe. The confirmed case rate remains low, mainly because laboratory confirmation is usually not performed for tetanus and diagnosis is based on clinical presentation.
Diphtheria is a life-threatening infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria. It also affects internal organs and/or the skin.In Europe, both diphtheria and tetanus are rare infections due to universal childhood vaccination and regular boosters [ECDC 2013].
Herpes zoster is a serious disease in older people and in the immunocompromised. In the absence of antiviral therapy, up to 45% of patients over 60 years of age experience considerable pain for 6–12 months [Scott et al, 2006; Wareham and Breuer 2007], severely affecting their quality of life [Drolet 2010].
The global incidence of pertussis is estimated at 48.5 million cases a year with 295,000 deaths [Mattoo 2005]. In the US, pertussis has the greatest incidence and mortality of all vaccine-preventable diseases [Roush 2007].
Pneumonia is a major cause of death and hospitalisation, but is not required by law to be reported to government authorities in most EU countries.
There is a really useful set of definitions relevant to adult immunisation in the SAATI Report (Adult Vaccination: A Key Component of Healthy Ageing)