Taiwanese researchers have found that shingles or herpes zoster attack could lead to a significantly higher risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) three months later.
Varicella Zoster virus that causes herpes zoster- a painful, blistering skin rash- has been also associated with MS.
MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, leading to inflammation and nerve damage as the body's immune cells attack the nervous system.
In the study conducted by Herng-Ching Lin and colleagues at Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, 315,550 adults with herpes zoster and a control group of 946,650 subjects were tracked and then evaluated for MS occurrence during a one-year follow-up period.
They found that the group with herpes zoster had a 3.96 times higher risk of developing MS than the control group.
The study also noted an interval of approximately 100 days between a herpes zoster event and occurrence of MS.
The findings were published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.