Population-based study of herpes zoster and its sequelae

M. W. Ragozzino, L. J. Melton, L. T. Kurland, C. P. Chu, H. O. Perry

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The epidemiology of herpes zoster and its sequelae have been investigated in a community-based study. The incidence rates observed in Rochester, Minnesota, are lower than those determined in practice-based series; and this may reflect some selectivity in practice-based series compared to population-based studies. No significant sex difference or seasonal variation was observed but the incidence did increase markedly with age. An increase in incidence was also observed over the 15 year period studied. The dermatomal distribution of herpes zoster observed in Rochester was quite similar to previous studies, despite their inherent biases in case ascertainment, except for a lower proportion with cranial nerve zoster. Herpes ophthalmicus (V1) appears to affect a slightly different population than zoster of the other dermatomes, with elderly males being more at risk. Also, herpes ophthalmicus is asociated with a higher complication rate compared to the other dermatomes primarily due to the fragility of the involved organ. The elderly are also at greatest risk for the most common complication, post-herpetic neuralgia. The rate of PHN is not significantly increased in any particular dermatome but is significantly decreased in lumbar herpes zoster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Ragozzino, M. W., Melton, L. J., Kurland, L. T., Chu, C. P., & Perry, H. O. (1982). Population-based study of herpes zoster and its sequelae. Medicine, 61(5), 310-316.