Does monastic life predispose to the risk of Saint Anthony’s fire (Herpes Zoster)?Archived

ECDC comment

The impact of the epidemiology of varicella on zoster epidemiology is still debated.

Gaillat J,  Gajdos V, Launay O, Malvy D, Demoures B, Lewden L et al. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2011;53(5):405–410.

One of the hypotheses, supported by 4 recent studies, is that repeated contacts with varicella reduce the risk of zoster. Even though the opposite assumption that “the absence of contact with varicella causes an increased risk” remains unproven, it is used as an argument against childhood varicella programmes in some countries in EU. The authors test this assumption in a very creative and methodologically rigorous study, which failed to demonstrate that the absence of contact with varicella caused an increased risk of zoster. This study constitutes a very interesting piece of work and could provide important information to support varicella vaccine introduction in childhood.