Measuring herpes zoster disease burden in São Paulo, Brazil: a clinico-epidemiological single-center study






OBJECTIVES: Herpes zoster is characterized by acute neuritis and post-herpetic neuralgia. Currently, data concerning the zoster-associated impact on quality of life and healthcare resource utilization in Brazil are scarce. This study measured the zoster-associated burden in a Brazilian population. METHODS: This was a prospective, observational, single-cohort study conducted in a primary hospital’s emergency room in São Paulo, Brazil. Patients enrolled at various timepoints during a zoster episode were followed over 180 days. The Zoster Brief Pain Inventory and the Initial Zoster Impact Questionnaire assessed zoster-associated pain. The EuroQoL assessed the impact of herpes zoster and/or zoster-associated pain on quality of life. Healthcare resource utilization was assessed by patient-reported questionnaires. RESULTS: One-hundred forty-six zoster patients were enrolled [mean (SD) age of 69.9 (10.9) years]. Mean (SD) worst pain scores decreased from 5.3 (3.5) at baseline to 1.9 (3.0) 180 days following rash onset. Mean (SD) EuroQoL scores significantly decreased from 0.9 (0.2) before rash appearance to 0.7 (0.2) after rash onset (p<0.001), followed by gradual improvements in quality of life over 180 days, with pre-herpes zoster quality of life achieved at the end of the observation period. The majority of patients purchased prescription medications (89.7%) and required doctor’s office visits (65.8%) for zoster episodes. CONCLUSIONS: Herpes zoster is associated with a significant disease burden, including zoster-associated pain, impaired quality of life and increased healthcare resource utilization in Brazil. These results support the implementation of early intervention and prevention programs such as vaccinations to reduce the herpes zoster-associated disease burden in Brazil.

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