Influenza infection is not associated with phenotypical frailty in older patients, a prospective cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: Influenza is a challenging infectious illness for older adults. It is not completely clear whether influenza is associated with frailty or functional decline. We sought to determine the association between incident influenza infection and frailty and prefrailty in community patients over 50 years of age. We also investigated the association between influenza vaccination and frailty and prefrailty as a secondary aim. Methods: This was a prospective community cohort study from October 2019 to November 2020 in participants over 50 years. The primary outcome was the development of frailty as defined by three of five frailty criteria (slow gait speed, low grip strength, 5% weight loss, low energy, and low physical functioning). The primary predictor was a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for influenza infection. Influenza vaccination was based on electronic health record reviewing 1 year before enrollment. We reported the relationship between influenza and frailty by calculating odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) after adjustment for age, sex, socioeconomic status, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), influenza vaccine, and previous self-rated frailty from multinomial logistic regression model comparing frail and prefrail to nonfrail subjects. Results: In 1135 participants, the median age was 67 years (interquartile range 60−74), with 41% men. Eighty-one participants had PCR-confirmed influenza (7.1%). Frailty was not associated with influenza, with an OR of 0.50 (95% CI 0.17−1.43) for frail participants compared to nonfrail participants. Influenza vaccination is associated with frailty, with an OR of 1.69 (95% CI 1.09−2.63) for frail compared to nonfrail. Frailty was associated with a higher CCI with an OR of 1.52 (95% CI 1.31−1.76). Conclusion: We did not find a relationship between influenza infection and frailty. We found higher vaccination rates in participants with frailty compared to nonfrail participants While influenza was not associated with frailty, future work may involve longer follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere750
JournalHealth Science Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Influenza
  • frailty
  • older adults
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Influenza infection is not associated with phenotypical frailty in older patients, a prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this