Shingle infection has caused more deaths than the flu and is killing more than 400,000 people each year, a new study finds.
The study, published on Thursday in the Lancet, found that the number of people who died from the disease was about five times higher in countries with a low vaccination rate, such as China and India.
More than 90 percent of the deaths were in the developing world.
China, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were among the countries that had the lowest vaccination rates, the researchers found.
But in those countries, vaccination rates are still low.
“We found that vaccination rates were lower in those areas where the vaccination rates had been higher than in other countries, and that the difference was still statistically significant,” lead author and epidemiologist Dr. James Hargreaves told The Verge in an interview.
“The fact that the countries with the highest vaccination rates have the highest number of deaths from Shingletons suggests that we should not expect to see a similar outcome with our vaccines.”
Hargroves is an associate professor of public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the study’s co-author.
The researchers analyzed data from 1,788,000 Shinglenose cases diagnosed between 2005 and 2012 in China, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh.
They analyzed data on the number and types of Shinglestick infections, and on deaths.
Their findings, which were based on a survey of more than 1,500 people, are the most extensive and comprehensive of its kind to date, the authors say.
“This is a huge leap forward,” said Dr. J. Richard Thompson, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was not involved in the study.
“These are the kinds of results that we can only hope to see with large-scale data.”
A large-sample study is needed to definitively establish the connection between Shinglets and other diseases, Thompson said.
“That will be a really difficult question to answer,” he added.
“There are lots of things that can go wrong with large studies like this.”
The researchers also found that there were many clusters of Shedletons.
“It’s quite remarkable that in countries that have low vaccination rates the cluster that is most commonly observed is among the older adults, and then clusters are also more often seen in those groups that have the greatest risk of Siphonia,” said Hargrockes.
“But in all other groups, we found that clusters occur when older adults have more than 10 Siphonitis cases and the Shingletes have been exposed to the vaccine.”
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health.
It was also supported by the University’s Center for Healthcare Epidemiology.