Safety and immunogenicity of a primary yellow fever vaccination under low-dose methotrexate therapy-a prospective multi-centre pilot study1.

Bühler, Silja; Jaeger, Veronika Katharina; Eperon, Gilles; Furrer, Hansjakob; Fux, Christoph A; Jansen, Stephanie; Neumayr, Andreas; Rochat, Laurence; Schmid, Sabine; Schmidt-Chanasit, Jonas; Staehelin, Cornelia; de Visser, Adriëtte W; Visser, Leonardus G; Niedrig, Matthias; Hatz, Christoph (2020). Safety and immunogenicity of a primary yellow fever vaccination under low-dose methotrexate therapy-a prospective multi-centre pilot study1. Journal of travel medicine, 27(6) Oxford University Press 10.1093/jtm/taaa126

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More people on immunosuppression live in or wish to travel to yellow fever virus (YFV)-endemic areas. Data on the safety and immunogenicity of yellow fever vaccination (YFVV) during immunosuppression are scarce. The aim of this study was to compare the safety and immunogenicity of a primary YFVV between travellers on methotrexate and controls.


We conducted a prospective multi-centre controlled observational study from 2015 to 2017 in six Swiss travel clinics. 15 adults (nine with rheumatic diseases, five with dermatologic conditions and one with a gastroenterological disease) on low-dose methotrexate (≤20 mg/week) requiring a primary YFVV and 15 age and sex-matched controls received a YFVV. Solicited/unsolicited adverse reactions were recorded, YFV-RNA was measured in serum samples on Days 3, 7, 10, 14, 28 and neutralizing antibodies on Days 0, 7, 10, 14, 28.


Patients´ and controls' median ages were 53 and 52 years; 9 patients and 10 controls were female. 43% of patients and 33% of controls showed local side effects (P = 0.71); 86% of patients and 66% of controls reported systemic reactions (P = 0.39). YFV-RNA was detected in patients and controls on Day 3-10 post-vaccination and was never of clinical significance. Slightly more patients developed YFV-RNAaemia (Day 3: n = 5 vs n = 2, Day 7: n = 9 vs n = 7, Day 10: n = 3 vs n = 2, all P > 0.39). No serious reactions occurred. On Day 10, a minority of vaccinees was seroprotected (patients: n = 2, controls: n = 6). On Day 28, all vaccinees were seroprotected.


First-time YFVV was safe and immunogenic in travellers on low-dose methotrexate. Larger studies are needed to confirm these promising results.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Furrer, Hansjakob, Staehelin, Cornelia


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Oxford University Press




Annelies Luginbühl

Date Deposited:

30 Oct 2020 13:07

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:41

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

immunosuppression travel yellow fever vaccine


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