TUESDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- People with chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, are more likely than others
to develop shingles, according to a new study.
Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, and results
in a painful rash with lesions.
Though it was already known that people with a weakened immune
system face an increased risk for the condition, the researchers of
the current study wanted to look specifically at people with COPD.
The study authors analyzed data on 42,430 Taiwan residents,
including 8,486 people with COPD.
During the follow-up period, 321 cases of shingles were
diagnosed among those with COPD (16.4 cases per 1,000 person-years)
and 759 cases among the others (8.8 cases per 1,000
The risk was highest for people taking inhaled or oral
corticosteroids to treat COPD, the investigators found. Hui-Wen Lin
and colleagues from the Taipei Medical University wrote that it's
also possible that "increased [COPD] severity further contributed
to the increased risk of herpes zoster associated with COPD."
The study is published in the Feb. 22 issue of
CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about