Population-based study of herpes zoster and its sequelae

Medicine (Baltimore). 1982 Sep;61(5):310-6. doi: 10.1097/00005792-198209000-00003.


The epidemiology of herpes zoster and its sequelae have been investigated in a community-based study. The incidence rates observed in Rochester, Minnesota, are lower than those determined in practice-based series; and this may reflect some selectivity in practice-based series compared to population-based studies. No significant sex difference or seasonal variation was observed but the incidence did increase markedly with age. An increase in incidence was also observed over the 15-year period studied. The dermatomal distribution of herpes zoster observed in Rochester was quite similar to previous studies, despite their inherent biases in case ascertainment, except for a lower proportion with cranial nerve zoster. Herpes ophthalmicus (V1) appears to affect a slightly different population than zoster of the other dermatomes, with elderly males being more at risk. Also, herpes ophthalmicus is associated with a higher complication rate compared to the other dermatomes primarily due to the fragility of the involved organ. The elderly are also at greatest risk for the most common complication, post-herpetic neuralgia. The rate of PHN is not significantly increased in any particular dermatome but is significantly decreased in lumbar herpes zoster.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Herpes Zoster / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Zoster / pathology
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Keratitis / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Sex Factors
  • United Kingdom
  • Uveitis / etiology