The aim of the epidemiological studies of VITAL (WP1) is to investigate the full infectious diseases (ID) burden in ageing adults in two pilot regions, using protocols that can evaluate retrospectively healthcare databases. In addition, missing information through prospective study-designed protocols will be obtained.

The Retrospective Study

During the past months the statistical analysis plan for the retrospective study was being prepared. This plan describes into detail how the data for the retrospective study will be managed and analyzed, and which output will be expected from the analysis. Information exchange and methodological discussions between WP1 and WP3 are taking place.

Based on the different outputs of the report on burden methodologies and data sources to assess burden of diseases, a research article titled European data sources for computing burden of (potential) vaccine-preventable diseases in ageing adults was published in BMC Infectious Diseases. An overview of all data sources identified has also been made available in an online database. This online database is freely accessible using following link: VITAL DATA SOURCES ( The article and online database provide an exhaustive overview of the available data sources and data gaps for the estimation of BoD of five (potential) vaccine-preventable diseases in ageing adults in the EU/EAA, which can guide pathogen-specific BoD studies and contribute to calculation of (potential) vaccine-preventable diseases burden of disease measures.

The Prospective Study

The prospective study initially started in three countries. By the end of the third year of VITAL a fourth country will enroll. Recruitment of patients and patient follow-up are currently ongoing.

The study is a longitudinal observational study in multiple hospital centers across three European countries (France, Italy, Spain) and includes patients above 65 in the emergency department, infectious disease, internal medicine or geriatric hospital wards with bacteraemia and/or acute respiratory infection. Two controls are foreseen for every case; the typical control patient will be of the same age same sex, without suspicion of infection and hospitalized during the past or upcoming month in the same center. All cases and controls will be followed up for six months and quality of life and frailty will be longitudinally assessed using standardized instruments.