Vaccine reduces shingles rate among elderly

Share this article:

Many seniors may soon be scratching and suffering less, thanks to a new shingles vaccine.

The Oka/Merck VZV vaccine decreases the occurrence rate and severity of shingles among older adults, and the pain that accompanies it, according to a report from the Shingles Prevention Study Group. Shingles occurs when a latent chickenpox virus is reactivated. It primarily affects older people, with about half developing complications according to last Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Michael N. Oxman, at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and colleagues tested the vaccine in 38,546 adults aged 60 and older. They took the vaccine or a placebo between 1998 and 2001 and were followed until April 2004.

After an average of three years, 315 cases occurred in the vaccine group and 642 in the placebo group. The vaccine also improved the severity of the illness, with an average duration of pain and discomfort of 21 days versus 24 days.

Share this article:

More in News

Skilled nursing facilities with poor quality ratings do not readmit more patients to hospitals, researchers find

Skilled nursing facilities with poor quality ratings do ...

Low-quality and high-quality skilled nursing facilities readmit about the same proportion of residents to hospitals, suggest research findings recently published in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

Cipro and related antibiotics increase MRSA risk in long-term care facilities, study ...

Long-term care residents on a fluoroquinolone antibiotic such as Cipro are at an increased risk for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, researchers in France have found.

Jonathan Blum, who oversaw long-term care reforms, resigns as head of Medicare

The nation's top Medicare official, Jonathan Blum, is leaving his post next month, news outlets reported Tuesday. Blum became a familiar figure to long-term care providers through Open Door Forum calls and other outreach efforts during his five-year tenure, as he guided implementation of Medicare ...