Childhood Asthma May Increase Risk of Shingles
Mayo Clinic researchers published a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology built on previous research linking childhood asthma to an increased risk of shingles. According to the researchers, asthma is one of the most burdensome chronic diseases that afflicts nearly 17 percent of the population of the United States.
“The effect of asthma on the risk of infection or immune dysfunction might very well go beyond the airways,” said the lead author Young Juhn, M.D., who is a general academic pediatrician and asthma epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Research Center.
The researchers used Olmsted County, Minnesota for their research where they found 371 cases of shingles (with an average age of 67). There were 742 individuals in the control group. Of the shingles group 23 percent had asthma while only 15 percent of the control group had asthma. The authors found that adults with asthma were at about a 70 percent greater risk of developing shingles, compared to those without asthma. The underlying mechanisms of this are not clear.
“As asthma is an unrecognized risk factor for zoster in adults, consideration should be given to immunizing adults aged 50 years and older with asthma or atopic dermatitis as a target group for zoster vaccination,” Dr. Juhn concludes.
For more information, read the full study.