Employment related productivity loss associated with herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia: a 6-month prospective study

Vaccine. 2012 Mar 9;30(12):2047-50. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.01.045. Epub 2012 Jan 28.


We conducted a prospective multi-center study to assess productivity loss associated with herpes zoster (HZ) and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). From 10/2005 to 07/2006, we recruited immunocompetent subjects aged ≥50 years with HZ within 14 days of rash onset across Canada. Of the 249 patients recruited, 88 were employed. Data on employment status, absences from work, reasons for absence and effectiveness at work were documented at recruitment, 7-14-21-30-60-90-120-150 and 180 days later. The majority (64%) of employed subjects missed work because of HZ and 76% reported decreased effectiveness at work (i.e. presenteeism) because of HZ/PHN. Mean hours of absenteeism and presenteeism per working individual were 27 and 34 h, respectively. Pain severity and duration were associated with greater productivity loss. These results provide new information about the burden of HZ and PHN, which is useful for public health planning and cost-effectiveness analyses of HZ vaccination among individuals of working age.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada
  • Efficiency*
  • Female
  • Herpes Zoster / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / complications*
  • Prospective Studies