About one in eight patients with herpes zoster infection has at least one complication of this condition. Major complications include postherpetic neuralgia, uveitis, motor deficits, skin infection, and systemic involvement (with manifestations such as meningoencephalitis, pneumonia, deafness, or dissemination). Postherpetic neuralgia occurs most frequently in patients older than 50 years of age and can be prolonged and intractable despite early antiviral therapy. The pain is often excruciating and does not respond well to conventional methods of pain control. Granulomatous vasculitis has recently been added to the list of complications (25).
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