Shingles Awareness Week 2023 (Canada)
Highlighting the gaps in knowledge and services for Shingles in Canada
Herpes zoster (shingles) is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. (1) Originating from the same virus that causes chickenpox, shingles typically develop later in life, predominantly in adults over 50. (2) The tell-tale sign of shingles is a rash forming on one side of the body or face.(3) The major complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia which is characterized as a debilitating long-term neurogenic pain that prevents many patients from carrying out their daily functions. (2,4)
While shingles is not particularly a life-threatening disease, and as such is often overlooked when formulating policies and programs, its complications are associated with significant medical costs and indirect costs such as increased burdens on the healthcare system and lost productivity. With this in mind, it is crucially important to invest in preventative efforts and increase efforts to raise awareness among Canadians, of which 1 in 3 will develop shingles in their lifetime and with those 50+ accounting for more than two-thirds of all cases. (2) Furthermore, there are 130,000 new cases of shingles each year in Canada, with 17,000 reports of postherpetic neuralgia and 20 deaths. (2) Shingles not only impacts the quality of life of the affected individual, but it also places a burden on their families and the healthcare system.
Amidst the backdrop of the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing and in the context of vaccine hesitancy among the Canadian population, it is important to explore health promotion campaigns to increase awareness about vaccine-preventable diseases and inform the public about the benefits of a life course approach to immunization.
Aligned with the mission of improving the lives of older people and influencing age-related policy, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is hosting the Shingles Awareness Week in Canada Campaign (27th February – 5th March 2023) targeting policymakers, patients and advocacy organizations. It will feature a variety of communications, including podcasts, a Q&A video, Twitter fact sheet and a comprehensive message bank.
Celebrating Shingles Awareness Week in Canada: A Two-Part IFA Podcast Series
Part 1: The Clinical Perspective with Dr. Marla Shapiro
Part 2: The Patient Perspective with Ms. Jenna Greenspoon
Celebrating Shingles Awareness Week at the IFA – Frequently Asked Questions about Shingles
Twitter Fact sheet