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Reducing the burden of Herpes Zoster in Italy

  • Autori: Gabutti, G.; Franco, E.; Bonanni, P.; Conversano, M.; Ferro, A.; Lazzari, M.; Maggi, S.; Rossi, A.; Scotti, S.; Vitale, F.; Volpi, A.; Greco, D.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2015
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Herpes Zoster (HZ) is a viral disease with painful neuro-dermatologic manifestations. Incidence increases with age. In Italy, the estimated incidence is 6.3 cases/1000 person/year; hospital admissions are less than 2%, 69% in patients aged over 65 years. The most frequent complication of HZ is Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN) characterized by metameric pain, allodynia, and hyperalgesia. In Italy 20.6% and 9.2% of HZ patients experience PHN after 3 and 6 months, respectively. Available antiviral and analgesic treatments are relatively unsatisfactory in reducing pain and length of the disease. Prevention has recently become possible with the live attenuated vaccine Oka/Merck. Clinical studies show a reduction of 51% in the incidence of the disease, 61% of its burden and 67% of PHN in vaccinees. Protection seems to be long lasting and vaccine safety matches registration requirements. Available evidence suggests that the costs for QALY (less than € 20 000) and avoided cases is favorable. Due to the heavy burden of disease, it is time to offer this vaccination to elderly population.