Increased number of Herpes Zoster cases in Brazil related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Int J Infect Dis. 2021 Mar:104:732-733. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2021.02.033. Epub 2021 Feb 11.


Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the pathogen SARS-CoV-2, was declared a pandemic in March 2020. Recently, studies have discussed reports of patients infected with COVID-19 associated with vesicular manifestations of Herpes Zoster. The objective of this study was to compare the data from the Unified Health System (SUS) on the number of diagnoses of Herpes Zoster from March to August from 2017 to 2019, with the same period in 2020, in the five Brazilian regions (North, Northeast, Southeast, South, and Midwest). The data were extracted from the public database (DATASUS) of Brazil's Ministry of Health. The data showed an increase in the number of Herpes Zoster diagnoses over the years and the negative impact from the COVID-19 disease, revealing an average increase corresponding to an extra 10.7 cases per million inhabitants during the pandemic in all Brazilian Regions. Therefore, although the association between HZ and COVID-19 is not well established, we observed in this study an increase in HZ cases during the COVID -19 pandemic, which suggests a correlation between these diseases.

Keywords: COVID-19; Herpes Zoster; Pandemics.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Zoster / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2*