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Vaccination against Herpes Zoster Virus (Zona)

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Last updated:30th Jun 2017
Status: Live
Vaccination against Herpes Zoster Virus (Zona) - Superior Health Council of Belgium

In this scientific advisory report on public health policy, the Superior Health Council of Belgium provides recommendations onthe prevention of herpes zoster infections in the Belgian population. This report aims at providing public authorities with specific recommendations on Vaccinationagainst Herpes Zoster (Shingles).

The varicella zoster virus (VZV) is responsible for two distinct clinical syndromes. Primary VZV-infection induces varicella (chickenpox), an infectious skin disease that typically affects children. There are several (monovalent and combined) vaccine formulations against primary VZV-infection available on the Belgian market. For the guidelines on preventing primary VZV-infections in children, we refer to advisory report No. 9212 of the Superior Health Council (SHC). VZV can reactivate after several decades and cause herpes zoster (HZ, shingles). This localised or generalised, painful skin eruption mainly affects older adults. Around one third of the population will experience HZ in the course of their lives. Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a complication of HZ that can cause chronic pain for several months or even years also with increasing incidence in the older population.

At this moment, one live attenuated vaccine is registered in Belgium for vaccination against Herpes Zoster, Zostavax® (MSD). GSK has also developed an inactivated vaccine against Herpes Zoster, Shingrix®. However, this vaccine is not yet registered in Belgium.

This report sets out the recommendations of the SHC on the use of the HZ-vaccine to prevent HZ and PHN.

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