WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
Jan. 10, 2008 -- There are about a million shingles patients in the U.S., and almost all of them
treatment each year, new government statistics show.
Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by the chickenpox virus.
Shingles causes a painful rash
with blisters, and the pain can last after the rash heals.
The new shingles statistics show that an annual average of 1.1 million
people had shingles from 2003 to 2005, and an average of 900,000 per year
sought medical treatment for shingles.
People age 65 and older are more than seven times as likely as younger
people to have shingles, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.
Shingles treatment cost an average of $525 dollars per person in 2005
dollars. Patients paid between 29% and 35% of that money in out-of-pocket
The data were gathered before the FDA approved the
first shingles vaccine in 2006. The CDC
recommends a single dose of the shingles vaccine for adults ages 60 and
SOURCES: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Medical Expenditure
Panel Survey, Statistical Brief #194, December 2007. WebMD Medical News:
"Understanding Shingles -- the Basics." CDC: "Shingles Vaccine:
What You Need to Know." WebMD Medical News: "FDA Approves First
Shingles Vaccine." WebMD Medical News: "Adult Vaccination: New
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