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Less Shingles, Less Stroke

April 23, 2020  · 2 min read

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a viral infection that causes a painful rash and blisters, instigated by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Older people are at higher risk of shingles, with one in three adults in the US developing the disease.

Fortunately, vaccination can reduce risk of shingles by nearly 50%. A recent WebMD news article highlights the importance of being vaccinated against shingles, and the surprising other benefit vaccination against the disease can bring – reduced risk of stroke.

The article explains that the risk of having a stroke was reduced by 20% for people under 80 years old who received the shingles vaccine. Why? Researchers suggest the answer may be related to inflammation. When people develop shingles, there is an increased inflammatory response which can increase risk for heart attack and stroke. Avoiding shingles through vaccination then, can reduce the inflammatory response and therefore reduce risk of stroke.

IFA strongly believes vaccination against infectious diseases such as shingles, pneumonia and influenza brings many more benefits than just protecting against the disease for older adults. Vaccination can help to prevent functional decline, hospitalizations and complications resulting from the disease. To learn more about the protective effects of vaccination for other diseases such as influenza, read the IFA Report “The Secondary Benefits of Influenza Vaccination”, and consider contacting IFA Experts Dr Serhat Unal, Chair of Department of Infectious Disease, Hacettepe University (Turkey), and Prof Raina MacIntyre, international expert in infectious diseases and vaccinology among older adults.

The IFA will host the 15th Global Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter” in November, where the Presidential Symposium on Vaccination “The Social and Economic Value of Adult Vaccination: Why Prevention is Wealth” will be held. One day prior to the conference (31 October) the IFA will convene the “Vaccines4Life Summit” a full day program that aims to inform the global agenda for a life course approach to vaccination, serving as an opportunity to network with professionals from various fields, understand the burden of vaccine preventable diseases, and share proven best practices and resources to catalyze action.

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