Oculo-respiratory syndrome (ORS) following influenza vaccination was identified in Canada in 2000. This report describes trends of ORS reported during four consecutive seasons 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 in the province of Quebec, Canada.
Data come from the vaccine-associated adverse event (VAAE) passive reporting system of the Province of Quebec.
The rate of ORS reported per 100000 doses distributed declined from 46.6 in 2000 to 34.2, 20.6 and 9 in 2001, 2002 and 2003, respectively. There was no significant difference in rates for ORS between the two vaccines in use in Canada (Fluviral and Vaxigrip) both in 2001 and 2002. During the 4 years, incidence was highest in people aged 40-59 years and declined in older age groups. The clinical profile of ORS has remained remarkably stable over years. Overall, ocular, respiratory symptoms or facial edema were reported by 58%, 84% and 31% of patients, respectively, and 15% had symptoms including all three symptom categories. ORS lasted more than a week in 8-13% of the cases.
ORS is an adverse event that occurred with both influenza vaccines used in Canada. Its frequency has declined substantially but is still present after 4 years. It constitutes a clinical entity distinct from anaphylactic allergy. Unlike anaphylaxis, ORS does not constitute an absolute contraindication to further doses.