In Italy a specific surveillance system for zoster does not exist, and thus updated and complete epidemiological data are lacking. The objective of this study was to retrospectively review the national hospital discharge forms database for the period 1999-2005 using the code ICD9-CM053. In the period 1999-2005, 35,328 hospital admissions have been registered with annual means of 4,503 hospitalizations and 543 day-hospital admissions. The great part of hospitalizations (61.9%) involved subjects older than 65 years; the mean duration of stay was 8 days. These data, even if restricted to hospitalizations registered at national level, confirm the epidemiological impact of shingles and of its complications
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