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Rev Med Liege. 2007 Jan;62(1):44-7.

[How I prevent...herpes zoster by vaccination].

[Article in French]

Author information

  • 1Service de Dermatopathologie, CHU Sart Tilman, Liège, Belgique.


Herpes zoster (HZ) results from reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which remains latent in the dorsal root ganglia after varicella. HZ predominantly affects people over 50 years of age without gender distinction, and its incidence increases with age. The most feared complication of HZ is the zoster-associated pains (ZAP), which encompasses the prodromal, concomitant and post-zoster persistent pains. The latter neuralgias are particularly invalidating and notoriously difficult, or even impossible to abate with current therapies. Until now, the best ZAP prevention was achieved by antiviral treatment given during the earliest phase of the eruption. This treatment certainly reduces the duration and intensity of ZAP, but exerts little influence on post-zoster persistent pains. A vaccination boosting the specific anti-VZV immunity in order to decrease the HZ incidence and post-zoster pains appears promising. A recent study performed on 38.546 immunocompetent patients aged over 60 years assessed the efficacy of a single injection of an anti-zoster vaccine (Zostavax). The incidence of HZ and post-zoster pain was decreased by 50% and 66%, respectively. Vaccination could be considered as a valuable option to alleviate the feared complications of HZ.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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