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Can Chicken Pox Virus Cause Stroke

The virus Varicella zoster causes Chicken pox. One of the after effects of getting Chicken pox in childhood, is the condition called Ocular Shingles which can occur in Adulthood. It is an infection caused in the skin surrounding the eyes. The virus can remain inactive for several months or years in the cells of people who had chicken pox in childhood. Later, at some point of time in life, the virus can become active again causing this infection. Nearly 300,000 cases of shingles occur in the United States, every year. It was found out that nearly 20% of people who had chickenpox in their childhood developed shingles later in their lives. Though this infection can occur to people of all ages, Ocular Shingles increases with age. According to a research report published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, Ocular Shingles can cause Stroke. This article tries to gain further insight into this finding.

Knowledge Gained From Research:

  • The research included 658 people found with ocular shingles and 1974 people without this infection, as volunteers in Taiwan, where the research took place.
  • In the beginning of the one year study, none of the volunteers had the history of getting stroke.
  • 8.1 percent volunteers with shingles developed stroke, whereas only 1.7 percent of them without this infection had stroke.
  • The statistics meant that people with shingles infection are four and a half times more likely to get stroke when compared to the people without this infection.
  • The result applied on people irrespective of other health factors and complications like age, gender, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and medications.
  • Ischemic stroke was found to occur more commonly in shingle-infected patients than hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Though anti-viral drugs are available to treat Shingles infection, the study found out that people who take these drugs and those who don’t, are equally at risks of getting stroke.
  • According to Dr.Jau-Der Ho, MD, PhD, Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, shingles infection can now be considered as an indicator for getting stroke.
  • However, this research didn’t take into consideration important factors like smoking and variation of stroke risks in different countries.

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