December 13, 2007
Shingles Also Prevalent Among Healthy
A U.S. study challenges the conventional wisdom that shingles primarily affects adults with weakened immune systems.
The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found more than 92 percent of the study subjects with shingles did not have any conditions like cancer or other serious illnesses that affected their immune system.
The shingles vaccine can prevent shingles -- a sometimes painful viral infection, often with a rash in people who have had chicken pox -- in about 61 percent of those vaccinated. In those vaccinated, the vaccine typically reduces the severity of the outbreak and the risk for developing lingering nerve pain.
The researchers calculated that shingles affects at least one in every 278 U.S. adults each year. The data also showed that shingles is even more common among those ages 50 to 59 -- affecting about one in 24 each year.