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Medical News & Perspectives
May 7, 2014

Stroke Risk May Be Increased After Shingles Episodes

JAMA. 2014;311(17):1721. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.4689

New evidence suggests that shingles, which can occur in individuals who previously had chicken pox (varicella), may be associated with an increased risk of stroke in the weeks to months following a shingles episode.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed medical records from millions of general practice patients in the United Kingdom from 1987 to 2012 and identified more than 6500 individuals with both shingles and arterial stroke during this period. When they looked at the time points at which strokes occurred in relation to the shingles episodes, they found that the rate of stroke was significantly higher during the first 6 months after a shingles episode compared with before a shingles episode (approximately 63% higher during the first month, 42% higher during the second and third months, and 23% higher during the fourth through sixth months).

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