Open Access Open Badges Research article

Burden of herpes zoster requiring hospitalization in Spain during a seven-year period (1998–2004)

Angel Gil1*, Ruth Gil1, Alejendro Alvaro1, María San Martín2 and Antonio González2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Sciences, Rey Juan Carlos University, Avda de Atenas s/n, 28922 Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain

2 Medical Department, Sanofi Pasteur MSD, P° de la Castellana 141, 28046 Madrid, Spain

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2009, 9:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-55

Published: 7 May 2009



A thorough epidemiological surveillance and a good understanding of the burden of diseases associated to VZV are crucial to asses any potential impact of a prevention strategy. A population-based retrospective epidemiological study to estimate the burden of herpes zoster requiring hospitalization in Spain was conducted.


This study was conducted by using data from the national surveillance system for hospital data, Conjunto Mínimo Básico de Datos (CMBD). Records of all patients admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of herpes zoster (ICD-9-MC codes 053.0–053.9) during a 7-year period (1998–2004) were selected.


A total of 23,584 hospitalizations with a primary or secondary diagnosis of herpes zoster in patients ≥ 30 years of age were identified during the study period. Annually there were 13.4 hospitalizations for herpes zoster per 100,000 population in patients ≥ 30 years of age. The rate increases with age reaching a maximum in persons ≥ 80 years of age (54.3 admissions per 100,000 population >80 years of age). The mean cost of a hospitalization for herpes zoster in adult patients was 3,720 €. The estimated annual cost of hospitalizations for herpes zoster in patients ≥ 30 years of age in Spain was 12,731,954 €.


Herpes zoster imposes an important burden of hospitalizations and result in large cost expenses to the Spanish National Health System, especially in population older than 50 years of age