Which medical conditions increase the risk of herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Feb 11, 2021
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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In a population-based case-control study from the United Kingdom aimed at quantifying the effects risk factors at various ages, 144,959 adults diagnosed with herpes zoster between 2000 and 2011 were compared with 549,336 age-, sex-, and practice-matched control subjects (median age, 62 years). [40] The following factors were associated with increased risk of zoster:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (2.1% vs 1.5%)

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (1.3% vs 0.9%)

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (4.7% vs 3.7%)

  • Asthma (7.1% vs 5.8%)

  • Chronic kidney disease (6.0% vs 5.4%)

  • Depression (4.7% vs 4.0%)

For many of the risk factors evaluated, the relative effects were greater in younger individuals. [40] The greatest risk of zoster was observed in patients with severely immunosuppressive conditions (eg, lymphoma and myeloma), but current vaccines are contraindicated in these individuals.

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