Background: There is literature that indicates the association of asthma with an increased risk of common and serious microbial infections. We recently reported an increased risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, e.g., herpes zoster (HZ) among children with asthma, defined by predetermined asthma criteria. Little is known about whether this association is persistent if the asthma status is defined by different asthma criteria, e.g., the Asthma Predictive Index, given the heterogeneity of asthma. Objective: To assess the consistency of the association between asthma and the risk of HZ in children. Methods: This is a population-based case-control study based on all pediatric patients with HZ between 1996 and 2001 in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and 1:1 age-and sex-matched controls without a history of HZ who were enrolled in our previous study. The original Asthma Predictive Index criteria was operationalized by two or more wheezing episodes in a year for the first 3 years of life plus one of the major (physician-diagnosed asthma for a parent or physician-diagnosed eczema for a patient) or two of the minor criteria (physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis for a patient, wheezing apart from cold, or eosinophilia [≥4%]). Data were fit to traditional logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios and 95% confident intervals. Results: Of the original cohort (n = 554), 95 (17%) did not meet the enrollment criteria for this study, which left 459. Of the 221 patients, 53% were female, with a mean (standard deviation) age of 9.7 ± 4.2 years. The risk of HZ was increased in children with asthma defined by the API controlling for a varicella vaccine history and atopic status (adjusted odds ratio 2.56 [95% confidence interval, 1.08-6.56]). Conclusions: The association between asthma and increased risk of HZ in children and adolescents is consistent, independent of asthma definitions. Asthma might be an important clinical condition to be considered in HZ vaccine studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine