Shingles is a reoccurrence of the chicken pox virus. It causes a painful nerve infection with a blistery rash and its effects can last several weeks to a lifetime. It affects about one million Americans each year and can attack anyone who has had the chicken pox.
The study shows the new vaccine is 51 percent effective in preventing the incidence of shingles and 66 percent effective in reducing the incidence of a severe complication of the disease called posthepatic neuralgia.
Posthepatic neuralgia causes pain that can last a lifetime and reduce a person's quality of life. Local doctors say this complication is the reason researchers look for a vaccine.
Dr. Randy Pearson of Sparrow's Family Practice says although the vaccine sounds good, it would be more promising if we could identify who is at greater risk for shingles and complications so we could vaccinate them.
Pearson also says in about 50 years, the need for a vaccine may not even be necessary. With more children immunized against the chicken pox, that illness and shingles may be eradicated within the near future.