Herpes zoster in the elderly: issues related to geriatrics.
This article reviews specific clinical and research issues of herpes zoster related to geriatric medicine. Salient epidemiological and clinical issues include the increasing probability of zoster and postherpetic neuralgia with aging, age-related decline in immunity to varicella-zoster virus, the functional and psychosocial impact of zoster on the quality of life of the elderly, illness behavior in elderly patients with zoster, and varicella-zoster virus transmission and control in the nursing home. The role of antiviral therapy, corticosteroids, and analgesics; the measurement and analysis of pain, health-related quality of life, and functional status; and development of the varicella vaccine in the management of zoster in the elderly are also emphasized. Fertile research opportunities exist within these areas for investigators interested in infectious diseases, geriatrics, and other zoster-related disciplines.
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