Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New study alters long-held beliefs about shingles

Date:
February 1, 2011
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
For decades, medical wisdom about shingles has been that it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The commonly-held belief is that patients are protected from a recurrence of the herpes zoster virus, which causes shingles, after one episode. But according to a new study, recurrences of shingles may be significantly more common than doctors have suspected.

For decades, medical wisdom about shingles has been that it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The commonly-held belief is that patients are protected from a recurrence of the herpes zoster virus, which causes shingles, after one episode. But according to a study published in the February issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, recurrences of shingles may be significantly more common than doctors have suspected.

"It's been thought that recurrences were limited to people with compromised immune systems, for instance from chemotherapy or bloodborne malignancies, but this is not the case," says lead author Barbara Yawn, M.D., director of research at Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester. "Recurrence was prevalent in the immunocompetent population. We were very surprised by the results."

The research team examined medical records, dating from 1996 to 2001, of nearly 1,700 patients over age 22 who had a documented episode of shingles. The condition causes a specific type of skin rash and severe pain. They then searched area medical records to determine whether those patients had been treated for a second episode at any point, following them up to 12 years (the average follow-up was eight years). The data showed the recurrence rate was over 5 percent, the same rate an age-matched cohort would be expected to experience a first case of shingles. Some patients had experienced as many as three recurrences. "And that's only within eight years," Dr. Yawn notes. "As you continue to follow these patients throughout their lives, it's likely the recurrence rate will be much higher than 5 percent."

The study found that women, who are more likely than men to have shingles, also were more likely to experience a recurrence of the disease. Although the team had suspected that recurrence rates would be higher in older patients, age did not appear to make individuals more susceptible to another round of the disease. Instead, researchers found the most striking determinant for recurrence was patients' pain during the initial episode. Those who had experienced pain lasting more than 30 days after the initial onset of shingles were more likely to face a recurrence, particularly in the first three to four years after the initial episode. This, too, surprised the research team. "We'd thought that suffering a worse case would possibly give patients more resistance to a second occurrence, but our data presented the exact opposite," says Dr. Yawn.

The results suggest that the herpes zoster vaccine, which is known to reduce first-time occurrences of shingles by 50 percent, may help patients avoid a second episode. "Until now, we haven't been able to tell patients their risks of getting zoster a second time," Dr. Yawn says. "This study offers another piece of information for patients and doctors who are discussing the likelihood of recurrence and considering a prevention strategy."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. P. Yawn, P. C. Wollan, M. J. Kurland, J. L. St. Sauver, P. Saddier. Herpes Zoster Recurrences More Frequent Than Previously Reported. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2011; 86 (2): 88 DOI: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0618

Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "New study alters long-held beliefs about shingles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122536.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2011, February 1). New study alters long-held beliefs about shingles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122536.htm
Mayo Clinic. "New study alters long-held beliefs about shingles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122536.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins