Shingles: Underestimated health risks

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17.11.2021 – 15:12

GlaxoSmithKline GmbH & Co. KG

Munich (OTS)

  • Age as a risk factor: People over the age of 60 are especially at risk of severe disease and complications
  • Post-zoster neuralgia is one of the most common long-term complaints.
  • Complications of shingles can affect the quality of life of those affected for months.

Shingles – a term that hardly reveals the severity of the disease. In fact, herpes zoster, as it is known in technical terms, is a serious viral disease and can be associated with a wide range of symptoms, some of which are severe. Not many people know: everyone who has ever had chickenpox belongs to the risk group of shingles. Because the pathogen, the varicella-zoster virus, remains in the body for life once the chickenpox disease subsides, usually in childhood. Many years and even decades later, it can be reactivated and manifest as shingles. This happens, for example, when the immune system is weakened due to age, illness or stress and the virus can no longer contain it. More than 95 percent of people over the age of 60 pass the virus unnoticed for a long time, but the chances of falling ill are relatively high: One in three will get shingles during their lives. In the case of 1 disease, most of those affected suffer severe, often described as stabbing and burning, nerve pain. Even after the illness subsides, not everyone can breathe a sigh of relief; Every third person suffering from the disease suffers complications and has to deal with long term consequences. 2 This is why the Permanent Immunization Commission (STIKO) recommends vaccination against shingles as the standard vaccination for people age 60 and older; It also advises people with underlying disease from the age of 50.

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Complications and long-term consequences can make active daily living impossible.

Shingles usually goes away after a few weeks, but in 30% of cases patients develop complications that can significantly reduce their quality of life in the long run. One of the most common complications is post-zoster neuralgia, which afflicts people with severe nerve pain. In the worst case it can last for months and in severe cases for life and can make an active daily life largely impossible. The central nervous system, skin, ears or eyes may also be affected. Inflammation of the brain or spinal cord as well as an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in the months following the disease are known to be further complications. In the case of herpes in the head region, there may be visual disturbances up to loss of vision or even facial paralysis. Shingles is a serious but avoidable health risk, especially for people in the second half of life. A shingles vaccination can protect against illness and complications. As per the current recommendation of STIKO, there is no need for a vaccination interval between a COVID-19 vaccination and other dead vaccines. Overall, it shows that the pandemic has permanently changed our awareness of our own health. A global study conducted by GSK showed that 63% of respondents in Germany would like to keep their vaccination status updated in the future.

To be able to lead an active daily life into old age, ask your general practitioner about the recommended standard vaccinations the next time you go to practice.

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about shingles

Shingles disguises itself as a skin disease, but it is an infectious disease triggered by reactivation of the chickenpox pathogen. More than 95 percent of people aged 60 and older have already had smallpox and are therefore carrying the virus. One in three people will get shingles at some point in their life. 1 Neither a healthy lifestyle nor measures like aha-el rule can change this. On the one hand, the immune system decreases with age, making reactivation more likely. On the other hand, the affected people are not infected but rather have the pathogen in their body. When the virus is reactivated, previously dormant pathogens move from nerve nodes along nerve fibers to their ends on the surface of the skin. There specific vesicles develop as a response, which are distributed over the body as a belt or band. Often only half of the body is affected. Symptoms are, for example, fatigue, tiredness, skin rash and nerve pain ranging from severe burns to stabbing. In particular, sometimes extremely pronounced pain, if complications occur, may persist even after the rash has subsided. One in three people struggle with complications and long-term effects. 2 Sometimes it takes several months, in other cases the pain can last a lifetime. In addition, shingles can cause visual disturbances, complete vision and hearing loss and, in rare cases, stroke.

You can get more information here: www.impfen.de/guertelrose

If you are interested, we will be happy to help you establish contact for interviews and background discussions with those affected, patient organizations or specialists.

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1 Wutzler et al. 2001; Vaccine 20:121-124.

2 Harpaz R et al. MMWR Recom Rep 2008; 57:1-40.

3 GSK Global Immunization Study 2021, 40 – 41.

Press Contact:

Nicole Engelstadtero
Kuhlen Communications GmbH . From
Widenmeierstrae. 27
80538 Munich
Phone: +49 89 9545956-19
Email: [email protected]

pia clary
head of corporate communications
Corporate and Government Affairs
Phone: +49 152 53239052
Email: [email protected]

Original Content: GlaxoSmithKline GmbH & Co. KG, News Posted by

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