[Herpes zoster and its prevention].
The mean herpes zoster incidence in Japan was 4.15/1,000 person-years and was 5.23-7.84/1,000 person-years among those 50 years old and older. One in three persons experiences herpes zoster before age 80, indicating how common it is. The Oka varicella vaccine was developed to prevent varicella in healthy and immunocompromized children and is now used to prevent varicella in 20 million people worldwide. Contact with varicella patients and Oka varicella vaccine are reported to augment varicella-zoster virus immunity in adults and the elderly. Oxman et al. have shown that Oka varicella vaccine prevents herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) in the elderly. Oka varicella vaccine is approved to prevent herpes zoster and PHN in the elderly in USA and Europe. We review the relationship between varicella/Oka varicella vaccine and herpes zoster, the study by Oxman et al., and the need to introduce this new application of Oka varicella vaccine in Japan.
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