Patients on long-term hemodialysis (HD) are at increased risk of herpes zoster compared with the general population, according to researchers.

Chien-Chun Kuo, MD, and colleagues at Kaohsiung Medical University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, studied 843 patients who began HD in 1999-2003 and a comparison group of 3,372 patients without end-stage renal disease matched for age and gender. Mean follow-up was 4.73 and 5.49 years for the HD and comparison groups, respectively.

The incidence rate of herpes zoster was 73.34 events per 1,000 person-years in the HD group, which was significantly greater than that of the 31.03 events/1,000 person-years in the comparison group, the investigators reported online ahead of print in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. After adjusting for confounders, herpes zoster was twice as likely to develop in the HD patients than the comparison group.

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