How does the incidence of herpes zoster (shingles) vary among age groups?

Updated: Jul 22, 2021
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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It is rare in children and young adults, except in younger patients with AIDS, lymphoma, other malignancies, and other immune deficiencies and in patients who have received bone marrow or kidney transplants. Fewer than 10% of zoster patients are younger than 20 years, and only 5% are younger than 15 years. Even though zoster is primarily a disease of adults, it has been noted as early as the first week of life, occurring in infants born to mothers who had primary VZV infection (chickenpox) during pregnancy.

The incidence increases with age. [47] In the general population, the lifetime incidence rate is 10-20%, which rises to 50% in those individuals surviving to age 85 years. [17] More than 66% of patients are older than 50 years. The incidence of PHN also rises with advancing age. [48]

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