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Novmber 8, 1976

Herpes Zoster and Neoplastic Disease-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Southern California Medical Center Los Angeles

JAMA. 1976;236(19):2175. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270200014016

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The estimate that "approximately 10% of patients with herpes zoster will have underlying problems" is based on personal experience on a large infectious disease service. From this experience, approximately 10% of our patients do have underlying problems either recognized or unrecognized at the time of onset of zoster. Those with extensive, recurrent, or disseminated zoster are more likely to have serious underlying problems, many identified prior to onset of zoster. In contrast, when zoster occurs among children in apparent good health, they are substantially less likely to have underlying malignant disease. The earlier comment was intended simply to alert physicians to the need for health evaluation in patients with zoster, recognizing that the frequency of predisposing conditions will vary widely, depending on the population served.