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Clin Exp Vaccine Res. 2019 Jul;8(2):116-123. doi: 10.7774/cevr.2019.8.2.116. Epub 2019 Jul 31.

A clinico-epidemiological multicenter study of herpes zoster in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hospitalized children.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital, Incheon, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, Daejeon St. Mary's Hospital, Daejeon, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital, Uijeongbu, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, St. Vincent's Hospital, Suwon, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, Bucheon St. Mary's Hospital, Bucheon, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, St. Paul's Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
The Vaccine Bio Research Institute, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.



There are limited population-based data regarding herpes zoster in children. Thus we conducted a multi-institutional epidemiological analysis of herpes zoster in children and comparative analysis according to their immune status.

Materials and Methods:

The study included 126 children under the age of 18 years who were hospitalized for herpes zoster at 8 hospitals in South Korea, between July 2009 and June 2015. The subjects were divided into 2 groups according to their immune status, and medical records were reviewed.


There were 61 cases (48.4%) in the immunocompetent group and 65 cases (51.6%) in the immunocompromised group. Median age was older in immunocompromised group (11.4 vs. 8.6) (p<0.001). The mean duration of hospitalization was longer in immunocompromised group (11.0 vs. 6.6) (p<0.001). Patients were treated with oral or intravenous antiviral agents. A total of 12 in immunocompetent group were cured only by oral acyclovir. No treatment failure was found in both groups. Six immunocompromised patients had postherpetic neuralgia and 1 case was in immunocompetent group. In immunocompetent children, herpes zoster was likely caused by early varicella infection. There was no increase in progression of severity in both groups due to appropriate treatment.


Early initiation of therapy is necessary for those in immunocompromised conditions. And inactivated herpes zoster vaccination may be considered in immunocompromised adolescents in the future.


Epidemiological analysis; Herpes zoster; Immunocompetent children; Immunocompromised children

Conflict of interest statement

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

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