Due to the demographic situation, the older population augments in size every year. Older people are more vulnerable to infectious diseases because their immune system becomes weaker with age. The consequences are that one may observe an increasing burden of infections in the elderly with a high transmission rate. They are often treated with antibiotics causing resistance. In addition, infectious diseases are often the trigger for an underlying manifestation of chronic disease conditions those elderly are suffering. Older people need more costly treatment because of their increased frailty condition.
If infections in the elderly could be avoided, we should be able to delay, reduce, or avoid the exposure to institutionalised health care with lengthy and costly stays related to slow recovery. The situation has not been well studied with enough detail in an integrated way. Rather bits and parts have been assessed but without having a clear overall picture on how this whole process of aging, infection exposure, immune response to vaccination, is developing and potentially evolving. Therefore, before getting to a programme of vaccinating the elderly, we need to study the infection problem in greater detail. We are facing the following specific challenges in getting the full picture well presented:
The scope of the action is to: