Stroke Risk Higher After Shingles, But Antiviral Drugs May Provide Protection

April 3, 2014 4:39 PM

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Patients’ risk of stroke significantly increased following the first signs of shingles, but antiviral drugs appeared to offer some protection, according to a new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online. People with shingles, an often painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, had a higher stroke risk in the first 6 months after shingles symptoms appeared; this risk was particularly increased in patients with a rash near their eyes, the study found.

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a significant public health problem, affecting an estimated 1 million adults in the U.S. and nearly 90,000 in the U.K. each year. The disease develops when the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox in children and then remains dormant in the body, reactivates...

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