Shingles Recurrence Risk

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A new study offers encouraging news for people who have recently experienced a painful bout of shingles. Dr. Edward Hill discusses shingle recurrence risk in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

For most people, the risk of having shingles recur after the initial occurrence is fairly low. That is the conclusion of researchers in a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Shingles is a painful rash. It occurs when the dormant chickenpox virus reactivates in nerves.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. People older than 50 and people with a weak immune system are at higher risk. Once a person develops shingles, their bodys immune system develops memory of the exposure that helps with the immune response if the virus reactivates.

Researchers studied electronic health records of more than 6,000 people with a recent history of shingles. They charted less than 30 recurrent cases in an average of two years of follow-up.

The risk was similar among people who had, or had not, received the vaccine after their bout of shingles.

The CDC currently recommends this vaccine for all people age 60 and older, including those with a history of shingles.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.