Asthma as a risk factor for zoster in adults: A population-based case-control study

Hyo Jin Kwon, Duk Won Bang, Eun Na Kim, Chung Il Wi, Barbara P. Yawn, Peter C. Wollan, Brian D. Lahr, Euijung Ryu, Young J Juhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Background: We recently reported an increased risk of herpes zoster (shingles or zoster) in children with asthma, but little is known about whether the same is true for adults with asthma. Objective: We determined whether asthma is associated with an increased risk of zoster in adults. Methods: This study was designed as a population-based case-control study. Zoster cases during the study period were identified among adults (aged ≥50 years) who resided in Olmsted County, Minnesota. We compared the frequency of asthma between zoster cases and birthday- and sex-matched control subjects (1:2 matching) without a history of zoster. Asthma status was ascertained based on predetermined criteria. A conditional logistic regression model was used to assess the association of asthma with risk of zoster. Results: A total of 371 zoster cases and their 742 matched control subjects were enrolled. Of the 371 cases, 246 (66%) were female, 348 (94%) were white, and the mean ± SD age was 66.8 ± 10.7 years. Twenty-three percent (n = 87) of zoster cases had a history of asthma compared with 15% (n = 114) of control subjects. Controlling for pertinent covariates and confounders, there was a significant association between a history of asthma and risk of zoster (adjusted odds ratio, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.20-2.42; P = .003). The population attributable risk percentage for asthma was about 10%. Conclusions: Asthma is an unrecognized risk factor for zoster in adults. Consideration should be given to immunizing adults with asthma aged more than 50 years as a target group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 13 2015



  • Adults
  • Asthma
  • Epidemiology
  • Herpes zoster
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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