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Herpes Zoster Infections

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2019.0454-0458

german translation / full article

Linda Sanftenberg, Jörg Schelling

Keywords: acute therapy herpes zoster neuralgia postzoster shingles vaccination

SummaryHerpes zoster (HZ) is a very common disease, which particularly affects elderly (over 60 years) and immunocompromised patients. In addition to a variety of painful effects, it can lead to a profound impairment of quality of life and to a chronic course. Search methodsSelective literature search using the term “herpes zoster infection” in databases Pubmed and Google Scholar. The search was limited to articles in English or German. Key messagesHZ is as a reactivation of a past varicella zoster virus infection and is usually characterized by painful blisters on the head or trunk. Severe courses or chronification of pain might occur. The disease is usually self-limiting; severe or prolonged cases are treated with antiviral medication. The associated pain management should include topical treatments; antidepressants, antiepileptics or a multimodal concept might also be necessary. Vaccine prophylaxis can be useful and has been officially recommended by the German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) in December 2018 for a subunit vaccine (Shingrix®). The vaccine is very safe and effective, but reactions at the site of injection, and some systemic adverse drug reactions are relatively common. According to available data the vaccine can prevent up to 90 % of HZ and post-zoster neuralgia and must be administered twice at 0 and 2–6 months. Coadministration with e.g. influenza vaccine is possible.ConclusionsSince many immunocompromised and/or elderly patients are affected by severe cases of HZ, patients should be informed by their family physician about applicable recommendations for the subunit vaccine. KeywordsHerpes zoster; shingles; acute therapy; vaccination; post-zoster neuralgia


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(State: 14.11.2019)

Latest Issue 11/2019

In Focus

  • Family Medicine Support Requirements of Care-giving Relatives
  • Herpes Zoster Infections
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation