Researchers have identified several risk factors for shingles that appear to pose a higher risk for younger adults, particularly those under age 50.
Using a U.K. primary care database, researchers identified nearly
150,000 incident cases of zoster over 11 years, matched with roughly
550,000 controls who didn’t have zoster at their index visit.
The following conditions were associated with increased shingles risk:
systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel
disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, chronic kidney
disease, type 1 diabetes, and depression. These conditions had greater
effects among younger patients. The authors ask “whether targeted
zoster vaccination of specific high risk groups at younger ages is
Patients with contraindications to the vaccine (e.g., lymphoma and
HIV) were at highest risk for zoster, “highlighting the need to
identify strategies to reduce the risk of zoster among these groups,”
The case-control study appears in BMJ.