JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Diabetes as a risk factor for herpes zoster infection: results of a population-based study in Israel.

Infection 2008 June
BACKGROUND: Studies showed that diabetes mellitus (DM) is often accompanied by impaired cell-mediated immunity, which potentially may increase the risk for infectious diseases, including herpes zoster (HZ). However, data on the relation between DM and HZ are scarce. This case-control study explored the association between DM and HZ.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This study was nested within a cohort of all members of a large health maintenance organization (HMO) in Israel. Cases totaled 22,294 members who were diagnosed with HZ between 2002 and 2006. Controls (n=88,895) were randomly selected from the remaining HMO population using frequency-matched age, sex, and duration of follow-up. Personal data on history of DM, lymphoma, leukemia, or AIDS, were obtained from computerized medical records.

RESULTS: Adjusted analyses showed that the risk of HZ was associated with history of leukemia, lymphoma, use of steroids or antineoplastic medications, and AIDS, particularly among patients below 45 years of age. In a multivariate analysis, DM was associated with an increased risk of HZ (OR=1.53; 95% CI: 1.44-1.62).

CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that individuals with DM are at increased risk of HZ. Well-designed cohort studies may help to clarify the nature of this association.

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