Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 May 2009
Live attenuated influenza vaccine containing the recombinant of A/Victoria/3/75 with A/PR/8/34 virus was administered to healthy adults in a field trial aimed at evaluating protection provided by immunization. The study was designed to measure the effect of vaccination on absenteeism from respiratory disease during a natural influenza epidemic. A total of 2115 male employees of the public transport service of Rome volunteered to participate in the trial, 1050 and 1065 receiving vaccine and placebo respectively, in a randomized blind fashion. Vaccination procedure was completed by the end of December 1976. A small-sized outbreak of influenza, due to a viral strain antigenically homologous to the vaccine, occurred during the month of February 1977. Analysis of absenteeism data, classified according to medical certificate, indicated that morbidity from respiratory disease was reduced in vaccinees compared with controls during the epidemic month; the rate of increase of morbidity compared with that of the preceding month was then three times lower in vaccinees than in controls and the difference in absenteeism between the two groups greatly exceeded the ordinary fluctuation that was observed during non-epidemic periods.