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Middle-aged and elderly women most at risk from shingles

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | | Updated: 2020-05-09 13:37

Middle-aged and elderly people, especially women, are at higher risk of shingles, a common viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a localized area, medical experts warned ahead of the Mother's Day.

China reported more than 1.5 million new cases of shingles among population aged 50 and above mainly due to the drop of cellular immunity caused by aging each year, and the number of women patients was higher than men, experts said during a live broadcast held by British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on Friday.

Both early diagnosis and disease prevention are critical, doctors said.

More than 80 percent of the patients went to the hospital for medial assistance at least three days after developing symptoms, which could lead to a less desirable treatment effect, especially when limited effective cures are available for the disease so far, said Zhou Cheng from the department of dermatology at Peking University People's Hospital in Beijing.

Doctors said vaccine is the most effective way to prevent shingles. "And we suggest women aged 50 and above as a key group to get vaccinated against the disease," said Zheng Dongyi from the health care department of the First Hospital of Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Last year a vaccine for shingles by GSK was approved in China to be used for people aged 50 or older and the company said it will be available in the market within this year.

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