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Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2014 Jul-Sep;118(3):817-22.

Clinical-epidemiological trends of herpes zoster: a 5-year study.


Herpes zoster (shingles) is a neurocutaneous viral disease, in recent years its incidence increasing throughout the world.


To study the incidence of herpes zoster among Iasi county patients requiring hospital admission and to analyze the clinical and epidemiological features and socioeconomic status of the study group.


Retrospective study of 158 patients admitted to the largest clinical dermatology department in North-eastern Romania, the Clinical Dermatology Department of the Iasi "Sf. Spiridon" University Emergency Hospital. The study was conducted over a period of five years and included the analysis of epidemiological data, socioeconomic status, clinical forms of disease, associated diseases, pathology reports for skin biopsy fragments, administered treatment, and disease course.


This study confirms that shingles is not a sex-specific disease, the female/male ratio being 1.22: 1. Most patients belonged to the age group 70-80 years, accounting for about 35% of all patients, followed by the age group 60-70 years (24.6% of cases). A slight increase in the number of cases was recorded in autumn and summer in patients living in rural areas. 1.3% of the cases were diagnosed both with the disseminated form of disease, and complications (eczematization, bacterial superinfection, skin necrosis). 7.6% of patients presented additional skin disorders (pityriasis versicolor, impetigo, psoriasis vulgaris, mucocutaneous candidiasis), which raised the suspicion of an immune deficiency predisposing to shingles. The absence or late initiation of specific antiviral therapy correlated with prolonged hospital stay up to 4-6 days. We found an association between the erythematous form of shingles and young age, while the hemorrhagic or necrotic forms were present in the elderly and/or ill patients. The course was favorable and the length of illness was significantly shortened when the treatment adequate to the clinical form was administered. Associated comorbidities (essential hypertension 38.6%, dyslipidemia 24.6%, diabetes, mellitus 9.49%, chronic venous disease, other skin diseases) represent a factor complicating the development of herpes zoster by the cumulative stress the body is exposed to.


The main statistically significant epidemiological data in the study group are: older age (over 60 years), associated diseases (which by the marked imbalances induced in the body increase the risk of varicella zoster virus reactivation) intense psychological stress. The following parameters did not change the risk of developing shingles: area of origin, sex, the season at disease onset, number of hospital days, and administered treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment of this disease is important for maintaining a good quality of life, to avoid complications, to limit the extent of the disease and its transmission to others.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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