International Journal of Medicine and Health Development

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Study of Herpes Zoster in a Self-Referral Out-Patient Clinic

Wilson I.B. Onuigbo


Aim: To study the presentation of herpes zoster (shingles) in self-referral urban primary care setting.

Patients and method: During nearly 20 years, patients of Igbo ethnic group presented with herpes zoster, on a self-referral basis, to my urban, week day evening, out patient clinic. The recorded epidemiological parameters were studied retrospectively.

Results: The affected patients consisted of 19 males and 9 females (M:F of 2:1) They were aged between 11 and 74 years (average 46.6yeyaers). Most males were aged between 30 and 49 years whereas the females clustered between 50 and 69 years. Only 2 children were infected, adults being mostly attacked. Sixteen patients were living in Enugu and its suburbs, while 12 patients came from dispersed towns. For 6 patients, their first attendance was for this ailment; the rest having registered earlier between 1month and 13 years. Sixteen patients manifested left-sided lesions, the remaining 12 being right-sided. Affliction of the thoracic dermotomes preponderated with as many as 18 instances. The only case of second attack (4% incidence) occurred within an interval of 10 months. During the roughly equal periods of 1983-92 and 1993-2002, the total sufferers were 9 and 19 respectively. Regarding possible antecedents, a sole male who was put in a police cell by a rival Taxi Union, stayed in it for three days and developed the rash 2 days after regaining his freedom.

Conclusions: Confirmatory of world-wide literature are the following Igbo findings on herpes zoster: it is a disease of adulthood; it attacks thoracic dermatomes predominantly; it is probably increasing in incidence; and it manifests repeat affliction in about 5% of patients. As to the future, prospective local studies should determine its possible association with AIDS.

[Jnl College of Medicine Vol.7(1) 2002: 1-2]

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