Asthma as a risk factor for zoster in adults: A population-based case-control study

Hyo Jin Kwon, Duk Won Bang, Eun Na Kim, Chung Il Wi, Barbara P. Yawn, Peter C. Wollan, Brian D. Lahr, Euijung Ryu, Young J. Juhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background We recently reported an increased risk of herpes zoster (shingles or zoster) in children with asthma, but little is known about whether the same is true for adults with asthma. Objective We determined whether asthma is associated with an increased risk of zoster in adults. Methods This study was designed as a population-based case-control study. Zoster cases during the study period were identified among adults (aged ≥50 years) who resided in Olmsted County, Minnesota. We compared the frequency of asthma between zoster cases and birthday- and sex-matched control subjects (1:2 matching) without a history of zoster. Asthma status was ascertained based on predetermined criteria. A conditional logistic regression model was used to assess the association of asthma with risk of zoster. Results A total of 371 zoster cases and their 742 matched control subjects were enrolled. Of the 371 cases, 246 (66%) were female, 348 (94%) were white, and the mean ± SD age was 66.8 ± 10.7 years. Twenty-three percent (n = 87) of zoster cases had a history of asthma compared with 15% (n = 114) of control subjects. Controlling for pertinent covariates and confounders, there was a significant association between a history of asthma and risk of zoster (adjusted odds ratio, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.20-2.42; P =.003). The population attributable risk percentage for asthma was about 10%. Conclusions Asthma is an unrecognized risk factor for zoster in adults. Consideration should be given to immunizing adults with asthma aged more than 50 years as a target group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1406-1412
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Asthma
  • adults
  • epidemiology
  • herpes zoster
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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