Family history risk factor for shingles

Patients are at a greater risk of developing shingles if they have a family history of the condition, say US researchers.

Their study showed that 39 per cent of patients who had a family history of shingles developed the condition compared with 10.5 per cent of those with no family history.

For the research 504 patients treated for shingles between 1992 and 2005 were compared with 523 healthy controls.

Patients with shingles were 4.35 times more likely to have a first-degree relative with a history of the condition than individuals in the control group.

Lead researcher Dr Lindsey Hicks, of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, concluded that ‘such patients represent a population that may be at increased risk of developing shingles and therefore have a greater need for vaccination'.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Arch Dermatol 2008:144:603-608

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