Hospital Admissions for Herpes Zoster in Portugal Between 2000 and 2010

Margarida Mesquita, Filipe Froes

Abstract


Introduction and Objectives: Herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia increasing incidence is related to ageing. These conditions can be very debilitating and have an important impact in patients’ quality of life. In an ageing population like the Portuguese, is expected
that the burden of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia rises, nevertheless, a specific surveillance system for zoster does not exist in the country, and data regarding the incidence of herpes zoster and the burden of the disease in Portugal in the last decades
was not found. In Portugal, the vaccine is still not available. Scaling the burden of disease is important to support public health policies regarding zoster
vaccination.
Material and Methods: We carried out a retrospective analysis from encoded information from the Portuguese Ministery of Health database for hospital admissions which included all individuals with a primary diagnosis of Herpes Zoster (IDC-9-CM 053), who were discharged between 2000 and 2010.
Results: In Portugal, between 2000 and 2010, 1 706 hospital admissions with primary diagnosis of herpes zoster occurred. The majority of the patients were elderly. Eleven percent of the patients had potentially severe immunocompromise. The predominant disease
was uncomplicated herpes zoster, followed by nervous system and ophthalmic herpes zoster. Mean hospital stay length was 9.3 days, increasing with age. There was a 1% case fatality rate. Considering the 2000-2009 period and the adult population only, the average
annual incidence rate of hospitalization with primary diagnosis of herpes zoster in Portugal was 1.9/100 000 inhabitants, increasing with age.
Conclusion: This study confirms that, in Portugal, severe herpes zoster is related to ageing and associated with significant morbidity, mortality and health resources allocation.


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