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Epidemiology, treatment and prevention of herpes zoster: A comprehensive review

 Department of Dermatology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Correspondence Address:
Wu Jianbo,
Associate Chief Physician, Department of Dermatology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Hubei - 430 071
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Herpes zoster is a major health burden that can affect individuals of any age. It is seen more commonly among individuals aged ≥50 years, those with immunocompromised status, and those on immunosuppressant drugs. It is caused by a reactivation of varicella zoster virus infection. Cell-mediated immunity plays a role in this reactivation. Fever, pain, and itch are common symptoms before the onset of rash. Post-herpetic neuralgia is the most common complication associated with herpes zoster. Risk factors and complications associated with herpes zoster depend on the age, immune status, and the time of initializing treatment. Routine vaccination for individuals over 60 years has shown considerable effect in terms of reducing the incidence of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia. Treatment with antiviral drugs and analgesics within 72 hours of rash onset has been shown to reduce severity and complications associated with herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia. This study mainly focuses on herpes zoster using articles and reviews from PubMed, Embase, Cochrane library, and a manual search from Google Scholar. We cover the incidence of herpes zoster, gender distribution, seasonal and regional distribution of herpes zoster, incidence of herpes zoster among immunocompromised individuals, incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia following a zoster infection, complications, management, and prevention of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia.

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Online since 15th March '04
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