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Burden of illness, quality of life, and healthcare utilization among patients with herpes zoster in South Korea: a prospective clinical–epidemiological study

International Journal of Infectious Diseases
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijid.2013.11.018
  • Herpes Zoster
  • Burden Of Illness
  • Observational
  • South Korea
  • Pain
  • Quality Of Life
  • Medicine


Summary Objectives To assess the herpes zoster (HZ) disease burden, including the severity and duration of HZ-associated pain, its impact on quality of life (QoL), and healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) in a South Korean clinical setting. Methods Patients aged ≥50 years were followed prospectively for ≤6 months. Based on the duration of their episode at enrolment, cases were classified as incident (<7 days) or prevalent (≥7 days). HZ pain and discomfort were measured with the HZ Severity of Illness (HZ-SOI) severity-by-duration composite score. Results One hundred fifty-one patients (69.5% prevalent cases) were enrolled. Prodrome pain was experienced by 68.2% of patients, of whom 95.1% experienced moderate-to-severe pain; post-herpetic neuralgia was experienced by 38.4%. Prevalent disease, higher acute pain, and older age were significant predictors of greater HZ-SOI, while use of antivirals was associated with decreased HZ-SOI. HZ-associated pain was associated with reduced QoL and affected all daily living activities (particularly mood, life enjoyment, general activities, and sleep), resulting in significant HCRU, including primary care doctor, specialist, or physiotherapist consultations, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits. Conclusion Severe morbidity, impaired QoL, and significant HCRU are associated with HZ in South Korea, especially in older patients, supporting the need for early intervention and preventive strategies to reduce the HZ-associated disease burden.

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