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Vaccination against shingles for patients over 50

Vaccination against shingles for patients over 50

Vaccination against shingles makes sense for older adults?

Vaccination against shingles could be useful for people aged 50 and over - at least this is the view of Professor Regine Heilbronn from the Institute of Virology at the Free University of Berlin. As the expert reports to “dpa”, vaccination can significantly reduce the risk of the usually very unpleasant and painful illness. However, the Standing Vaccination Committee (Stiko) at the Robert Koch Institute has so far not given any vaccination recommendations for older people.

Sufferers suffer from sudden, stabbing pain. The so-called "shingles" (herpes zoster) is a viral disease that is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), a member of the herpes virus family. The disease is characterized by a one-sided, streak-shaped rash with redness or blisters, some of which appear in the form of rosettes and can be filled with blood. At the same time, other symptoms such as severe exhaustion, mild fever or severe itching may occur, in addition to which there is in most cases severe pain in the affected region of the body, which can become unbearable for those affected: "The problem with shingles is that blisters form, which can become very large and very painful, so that the patient has really stabbing pain that suddenly comes out of nowhere again and again, like when someone stabs a knife in the stomach. The other is that the pain can persist for a very long time if the shingles are not properly treated, ”says Prof. Christian Sander, dermatologist at the Asklepios Klinik St. Georg in Hamburg.

Virus stays in the body for life The shingles is caused by an infection with the chickenpox virus, which is usually transmitted during childhood, but remains in the human organism after having had chickenpox and can therefore break out again in the form of shingles. Older people are particularly at risk here, since the immune system often weakens in old age and the viruses therefore have a particularly “easy game” of reproducing again. Accordingly, vaccination against the disease can be particularly useful for older people, Professor Regine Heilbronn from the Institute of Virology at the Free University Berlin told the news agency "dpa". Such a vaccination for people over 50 has only recently been approved and can significantly reduce the risk of illness, Professor Heilbronn continued. The problem with this: The vaccine is a so-called "live vaccine" that must not be given to immunocompromised people and is therefore out of the question for the "main target group".

Antibody protection can decrease over the years In addition to this, Heilbronn points out that despite vaccination, antibody protection can decrease over the years, because normally protection against the virus would naturally occur naturally - for example, through contact with the sick child renew. However, since many parents meanwhile have their children vaccinated against chickenpox, fewer and fewer children would become ill and the possibility of "refreshing" would be eliminated, the medical doctor told dpa.

Permanent vaccination committee recommends vaccination only for children The permanent vaccination committee (Stiko) at the Robert Koch Institute currently does not recommend vaccination for people over 50 - since 2004, however, for children, with the aim of reducing the overall incidence of varicella and preventing it to prevent serious illnesses and rare deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute. (No)

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