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Chronic Medical Conditions Associated with Increased Zoster Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 14, 2014

Chronic Medical Conditions Associated with Increased Zoster Risk

By Kelly Young

Researchers have identified several risk factors for herpes zoster that appear to pose a higher risk for younger adults, particularly those under age 50. The case-control study appears in BMJ.

Using a U.K. primary care database, researchers identified nearly 150,000 incident cases of zoster over 11 years, matched with roughly 550,000 controls who didn't have zoster at their index visit.

The following conditions were associated with increased zoster risk: systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, chronic kidney disease, type 1 diabetes, and depression. These conditions had greater effects among younger patients. The authors ask "whether targeted zoster vaccination of specific high risk groups at younger ages is warranted."

Patients with contraindications to the vaccine (e.g., lymphoma and HIV) were at highest risk for zoster, "highlighting the need to identify strategies to reduce the risk of zoster among these groups," they write.

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