Cross-sectional study on hospitalizations related to herpes zoster in an Italian region, 2008–2016
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To assess the burden of herpes zoster (HZ) by analyzing HZ-related hospital admissions.
We conducted a population-based descriptive cross-sectional study on all hospitalizations for HZ among the resident population admitted to all public and accredited private hospitals in the Veneto Region (north-east Italy) during the years 2008–2016. HZ hospitalizations were identified from the International Classification of Diseases codes in the hospital discharge records.
During the period considered, we identified 3566 HZ-associated admissions, 194 (5.4%) of which were readmissions within 30 days. A complicated HZ diagnosis was mentioned for 44.4% of the patients admitted once and for 65.9% of those admitted twice. In the sample as a whole, 27.0% of patients had at least one comorbidity. Overall, our analysis revealed a gradual increase in hospitalizations with age for both genders, reaching a hospitalization rate for the population over 80 years old of 51.2 × 100,000 for males and 52.8 × 100,000 for females. The average hospitalization rate for HZ-related conditions during the years 2008–2016 was 7.7 per 100,000 population. Postherpetic neuralgia was diagnosed in 8.2% of hospitalizations, with no difference between the genders. The estimated overall cost of HZ-related conditions was approximately €2.7 million a year.
This study suggests that the burden of HZ and its impact on quality of life are of critical relevance to public health decision-making.
KeywordsHerpes zoster Postherpetic neuralgia Hospitalization Epidemiology Public health
Varicella zoster virus
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification
Average annual percent changes
The authors did not receive any funding or support for the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights statement and consent to participate
The study was conducted on data routinely collected by the health services and linked to anonymized records that make it impossible to identify the individuals concerned. The data analysis was performed on anonymized aggregated data in the Local Health Authority registries that are recorded with the patient’s consent and can be used in aggregate form for scientific studies without further authorization (Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana. 2012, 72: 47–52). This study complies with the Declaration of Helsinki and with Italian privacy law (Decree n. 196/2003 on the protection of personal data).
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