More and more cases of shingles in South Tyrol
Each year about 150,000 people in Italy contract shingles. Also in South Tyrol, every fourth person will get shingles sooner or later,” warns Dr. Giuliano Piccoliori, scientific director of the Institute of General Medicine and Public Health in Bolzano.

As a family physician, he recently noted the severity of the physical effects of shingles. This is especially true of the most terrifying outcome, post-herpetic neuralgia. This is severe pain after shingles occurs. They are similar to those caused by burns, and often involve stinging.

Dr. Giuliano Picoliore recently noticed an increase in herpes zoster cases.

Dr. explains. bicolori. This type of pain occurs in about a quarter of cases. It can last a few weeks or months, sometimes years, if not a lifetime.

These are the groups at risk

People with weakened immune systems due to diseases and other health problems (such as AIDS, leukemia, transplants, or dialysis) are primarily at risk. People with diabetes and the elderly are at an increased risk of developing and contracting severe forms of shingles, and young adults are at greater risk. “Furthermore,” says Dr. Piccoliori says, “There is already enough scientific evidence to confirm that zoster is more common in those who have recently had Covid-19.”

Vaccination efficacy

In addition to the shingles vaccine, according to Dr. Piccolioris, the varicella (chickenpox) vaccination, which has been mandatory in Italy for several years, is the only possible form of shingles prevention. “Any physical and mental stress can ‘awaken’ the varicella virus dormant in the nerve ganglia and thus lead to the onset of shingles,” the GP explains.

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Shingles vaccination can reduce cases of postherpetic neuralgia by about 65 percent and clinical cases of shingles by 50 percent. Vaccines will be offered free of charge to people at risk and to people over the age of 64 under the government’s 2017-2019 Immunization Prevention Scheme.

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