Get vaccinated to prevent zoster recurrence, says study

05 Sep 2021

Individuals who have already experienced herpes zoster are advised to get vaccinated to avoid recurrence, suggests a study, which highlights the need for further research on immunogenicity and vaccine efficacy in this population.

The investigators examined zoster recurrence in a population-based cohort using data from a large cohort (The 45 and Up Study) with linked medical data (2004–2015). Survival analysis methods were applied to evaluate the incidences of first and recurrent zoster.

Of the 17,413 participants who had a first zoster episode (incidence, 9.43 per 1,000 person-years, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 9.29–9.57), 675 (3.9 percent) had a recurrence over 1,846,572 person-years of follow-up. It took a mean of 2 years for zoster to recur after the first incidence among individuals aged 45–54 years and 3 years among those aged 55 years.

The incidence of recurrence among individuals with a first zoster was 11.05 (95 percent CI, 10.24–11.91) per 1,000 person-years. In addition, a higher recurrence incidence occurred in women vs men, in younger vs older participants, and in immunosuppressed vs nonimmunosuppressed individuals.

Recurrence incidence appeared to be fewer in the 12 months following zoster onset. However, it remained consistent at about 12.00 per 1,000 person-years in the next 8 years.

This study was limited by a possible underestimation of recurrence due to the use of administrative data for case ascertainment and by a potential misclassification of nonimmunosuppressed participants, according to the investigators.

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