The reactivation of dormant alpha-human herpesvirus (αHHV) has been attributed to various causes often referred to as stressors. However, no clinical study investigating the relationship between stressors and reactivation exists in humans at this time. Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1), an important αHHV, was shown to have its gene expression and replication regulated by thyroid hormone (TH) using molecular biology approaches. Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is categorized in αHHV superfamily and shares similar homology with HSV-1. We hypothesize that a history of TH imbalance may be associated with the incidence of shingles (VZV reactivation). This current pilot study, based on a hospital medical claims database, was conducted as a retrospective case-controlled investigation to determine if a putative link between TH imbalance and incidence of shingles is present. An odds ratio of 2·95 with a χ
2 value of 51·74 was calculated for the total population diagnosed with TH disruption and shingles. Further analyses indicated that African American males exhibited a much higher chance of simultaneous diagnoses. These results show that a TH imbalance history may affect VZV reactivation at different incidence rates in different races and age groups.