Increased Risk of Herpes Zoster in Adult Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease After SARS-CoV2 Infection: A Propensity-Matched Cohort Study

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2023 Aug 4:izad162. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izad162. Online ahead of print.


Background: There is evidence that SARS-CoV2 infection can increase the risk of herpes zoster (HZ) in the general population. However, the risk in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is not known.

Methods: The TriNetX database was utilized to conduct a retrospective cohort study in patients with IBD after SARS-CoV2 infection and patients without a SARS-CoV2 infection (IBD control cohort). The primary outcome was to evaluate the risk of HZ between the 2 cohorts. One-to-one (1:1) propensity score matching was performed for demographic parameters, HZ risk factors and IBD medications between the 2 cohorts. Adjusted odds ratio (aOR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated.

Results: After propensity score matching, patients with IBD with a SARS-CoV2 infection were at an increased risk for HZ (aOR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.53-3.04) compared with IBD control cohort in the pre-COVID-19 vaccine era. There was no difference in the risk (aOR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.44-1.75) of a composite outcome of HZ complications (hospitalization, post-herpetic neuralgia, and neurologic complications) between the 2 cohorts. The IBD SARS-CoV2 cohort was also at an increased risk for HZ (aOR, 3.04; 95% CI, 1.48-6.24) compared with IBD control cohort in the postvaccine era. However, the risk of HZ in the postvaccine era was decreased (aOR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.27-0.76) compared with IBD SARS-CoV2 cohort in the prevaccine era.

Conclusions: Our study showed that SARS-CoV2 infection is associated with an increased risk of HZ in patients with IBD.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV2; herpes zoster; inflammatory bowel disease.