Shingles Burden and Trends

Almost 1 out of 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. Most people who get shingles will have it only once. However, you can get the disease more than once.

Your risk of getting shingles increases as you get older. The most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is severe pain in the areas where the shingles rash occurred. About 10 to 18% of people who get shingles will experience PHN. The risk of PHN also increases with age.

Children can get shingles, but it is not common.

Hospitalizations and Deaths

Approximately 1 to 4% of people who get shingles are hospitalized for complications. Older adults and people with weakened or suppressed immune system are more likely to be hospitalized. About 30% of people hospitalized for shingles have a weakened or suppressed immune system. Shingles causes fewer than 100 deaths annually. Almost all shingles deaths are in elderly or people with compromised immune system.


Shingles rates have been increasing in the United States over a long period of time and the reasons for it are unclear. This trend continues among younger and middle aged adults, however since 2008 the rates among older adults have been plateauing.


Shingles and Postherpatic Neuralgia† Rates* by Age, United States

*per 1,000 person-years.
† Defined as pain for 30 days or longer


Shingles Rates in Adults 30 and Older, 1998-2016

Page last reviewed: August 14, 2019