Agreement advances prevention of shingles in elderly
iKang Healthcare Group has signed an agreement with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to jointly carry out disease prevention and education for the elderly on shingles.
Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.
After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays inactive in the body but can be reactivated years later, causing shingles. The elderly, women and those with low immunity are more vulnerable to the disease, which can cause acute pain.
“The risk of shingles and its symptoms rise with age, people over 50 years old are its major sufferers,” said Dr Xu Jinhua from Huashan Hospital.
About 1.56 million people suffer from the disease in China every year. With the increase in the number of the elderly, there will be more patients in the future.
“The disease can seriously affect elderly patients’ life quality," Xu said. “The treatments for shingles are limited. Vaccination is an effective method to protect people, especially the elderly, from shingles."
Through this cooperation, iKang and GSK said they will enhance elderly people's understanding of shingles, promote the importance of vaccination and step up education among the public.
“The health check-up units of iKang will offer shingles vaccination,” said Zhang Ligang, president of iKang.