The risk for severe herpes zoster and stubborn postherpetic neuralgia is increased in persons beyond 60 years of age. Patients above 50 years who have
congenital or acquired immune deficiency or such with chronic diseases e.g.
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- systemic lupus erythematodes,
- chronic inflammatory bowel condition,
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or bronchial asthma,
- chronic renal failure,
- diabetes mellitus, etc.
are also at higher risk for shingles and its complications.
More than 300.000 people are affected by zoster each year in Germany. Approximately 5% of those develop painful neuralgia even weeks after the recovery of the skin eruption.
Hence the Robert-Koch-Institute of Berlin advises the inocculation against shingles by an inactivated vaccine for these groups of the population. It consists of two jabs in a two months interval. Since 1st May 2019 it becomes part of the statutory health services.