Measuring the burden of herpes zoster and post herpetic neuralgia within primary care in rural Crete, Greece
1 Department of Social Medicine, Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, PO Box 2208, Postal Code 71003, Greece
2 Center for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3 Primary Care Practice of Pirgos, Heraklion Postal Code 70010, Crete, Greece
4 Health Center of Spili, Rethymnon Postal Code 74053, Crete, Greece
5 Primary Care Practice of Mallia, Heraklion Postal Code 70007, Crete, Greece
6 Health Center of Agia Varvara, Heraklion Postal Code 70003, Crete, Greece
7 Primary Care Practice of Skinia, Heraklion Postal Code 70300, Crete, Greece
8 2nd Department of Psychiatry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki, Postal Code 54124, Greece
9 Primary Care Practice of Vraxasi, Heraklion Postal Code 72400, Crete, Greece
10 Health Center of Anogeia, Rethymnon Postal Code 74051, Crete, Greece
11 Primary Care Practice of Episkopi, Heraklion Postal Code 70008, Crete, Greece
12 Primary Care Practice of Zoniana, Rethymnon Postal Code 74051, Crete, Greece
13 Primary Care Practice of Hersonisos, Heraklion Postal Code 70014, Crete, Greece
14 Primary Care Practice of Peza, Heraklion Postal Code 70100, Crete, Greece
15 Primary Care Practice of Ebaros, Heraklion Postal Code 70015, Crete, Greece
16 Primary Care Practice of Asites, Heraklion Postal Code 70013, Crete, Greece
17 Primary Care Practice of Moxos, Heraklion Postal Code 70005, Crete, Greece
BMC Family Practice 2011, 12:136 doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-136Published: 6 December 2011
Research has indicated that general practitioners (GPs) have good clinical judgment in regards to diagnosing and managing herpes zoster (HZ) within clinical practice in a country with limited resources for primary care and general practice. The objective of the current study was to assess the burden of HZ and post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) within rural general practices in Crete, Greece.
The current study took place within a rural setting in Crete, Greece during the period of November 2007 to November 2009 within the catchment area in which the Cretan Rural Practice-based Research Network is operating. In total 19 GP's from 14 health care units in rural Crete were invited to participate, covering a total turnover patient population of approximately 25, 000 subjects. For the purpose of this study an electronic record database was constructed and used as the main tool for monitoring HZ and PHN incidence. Stress related data was also collected with the use of the Short Anxiety Screening Test (SAST).
The crude incidence rate of HZ was 1.4/1000 patients/year throughout the entire network of health centers and satellite practices, while among satellite practices alone it was calculated at 1.3/1000 patients/year. Additionally, the standardised incidence density within satellite practices was calculated at 1.6/1000 patients/year. In regards to the stress associated with HZ and PHN, the latter were found to have lower levels of anxiety, as assessed through the SAST score (17.4 ± 3.9 vs. 21.1 ± 5.7; p = 0.029).
The implementation of an electronic surveillance system was feasible so as to measure the burden of HZ and PHN within the rural general practice setting in Crete.