Trends in Self-Reported Immunosuppression Among Adults in US

The estimated prevalence of current immunosuppression is 2.7% among the US population.

HealthDay — The estimated prevalence of current immunosuppression is 2.7% among the US population, according to a study published online October 28 in the Journal of the American Medical Association to coincide with the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDWeek), held from October 26 to 30 in New Orleans.

Rafael Harpaz, MD, MPH., from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of noninstitutionalized civilian US adults aged 18 years or older using data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. Respondents were asked whether they had been told by a doctor or another health professional that their immune system was weakened. If so, they were asked follow-up questions to determine whether that status was current and to report additional evidence of immunosuppression.

The researchers found that 4.2% of the 34,426 eligible adult respondents had been told their immune system was weakened. Overall, 2.8% reported current immunosuppression and additional evidence of immunosuppression; this represented an estimated US prevalence of 2.7%. Prevalence ranged from 1.8% to 3.1% in sensitivity analyses, with highest prevalence among women, whites, and those aged 50 to 59 years.

“This study addresses an underappreciated phenomenon and serves as a call for additional data from other sources to complement and fill the gaps in the study,” the authors write. 

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Harpaz R, Dahl RM, Dooling KL. Prevalence of immunosuppression among US adults, 2013. JAMA. 2016; Oct 28. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16477 [Epub ahead of print]

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