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J Clin Virol. 2010 Apr;47(4):325-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2010.01.003. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

Disease burden of herpes zoster in Korea.

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Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



The occurrence of herpes zoster can deteriorate the quality of life considerably, resulting in high disease burden. While Korea is assumed to have high disease burden of herpes zoster, there has been no researches analyzing this.


We performed this study to investigate the disease burden of herpes zoster in the Korean population as a whole.


We used the database of the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service of Korea and analyzed the data of patients who had herpes zoster as a principal diagnosis during the period from 2003 to 2007. We investigated the annual prevalence, rate of clinical visits, rate of hospitalization, and the pattern of medical services use. The socioeconomic burden of herpes zoster was calculated by a conversion into cost.


Rates of clinic visits and hospitalizations due to herpes zoster during the 5-year period from 2003 to 2007 were 7.93-12.54 per 1000 population and 0.22-0.32 per 1000 population, respectively. Prevalence rates according to age increased sharply after 50 years and reached a peak at 70 years. The total socioeconomic cost of herpes zoster was $75.9-143.8 million per year, increasing every year by 14-20%.


There is a heavy socioeconomic burden due to herpes zoster in Korea and indicate that appropriate policies need to be established to reduce this burden. Additional researches are also necessary to assess the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a herpes zoster vaccine in the Korean population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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