Shingles/herpes zoster

Shingles/herpes zoster

Last Reviewed : 12/25/2020
Shingles/herpes zoster

Shingles, also known as zoster, herpes zoster, or zona, is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blistersinvolving a limited area. Typically the rash occurs on either the left or right of the body or face in a single stripe. Two to four days before the rash occurs there may be pain or tingling in the area. Otherwise there are typically few symptoms. The rash usually heals within two to four weeks; however, some people develop ongoing nerve pain which may last for months or years, a condition called postherpetic neuralgia. In those with poor immune function the rash may occur widely. If the rash involves the eye, vision loss may occur.

Shingles is due to a reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV) within a person's body. Chickenpox is due to an initial infection with VZV. Once chickenpox has resolved, the virus may remain inactive in nerve cells. Risk factors for reactivation include older age, poor immune function, and having had chickenpox before 18 months of age. How the virus remains in the body or subsequently re-activates, is not well understood. Exposure to the virus in the blisters can cause chickenpox in someone who has not had it before but will not trigger shingles. Diagnosis is typically based on a person's signs and symptoms. Varicella zoster virus is not the same as herpes simplex virus; however, they belong to the same family of viruses.

The shingles vaccine decreases the chance of shingles by about half in those between the ages of 50 and 80. It also decreases rates of postherpetic neuralgia, and if an outbreak occurs, its severity. After 80 the vaccine is still effective, just less so. It contains the same material as the varicella vaccine, just at a higher dose. If shingles develops, antiviral medications such as aciclovir can reduce the severity and duration of disease if started within 72 hours of the appearance of the rash. Evidence does not show a significant effect of antivirals or steroids on rates of postherpetic neuralgia. Paracetamol, NSAIDs, or opioids may be used to help with the acute pain.

It is estimated that about a third of people develop shingles at some point in their life. While more common among older people, children may also get the disease. The number of new cases per year ranges from 1.2–3.4 per 1,000 among healthy individuals to 3.9–11.8 per 1,000 among those older than 65 years of age. About half of those living to age 85 will have at least one attack, and less than 5% will have more than one attack. The disease has been recognized since ancient times.[3] In Arabic its name means "belt of fire", while in Spanish it means "small snake", and in Hindi it means "big rash".

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Basic information: web md shingles - topic overview shingles shingles health line what does shingles look like? medicine shingles emedicine health shingles nih senior health shingles better health shingles mnt shingles net doctor shingles (herpes zoster) medinfo shingles dermnt nz shingles family shingles kids shingles health service executive shingles new york state shingles (herpes zoster) immunize bc shingles healthy wa shingles health direct shingles everyday health what is shingles? merck manuals herpes zoster (shingles; acute posterior ganglionitis) new york times shingles very well shingles: how to prevent a painful rite of passage u health system shingles (herpes zoster) body and health shingles


Advanced information: patient shingles cdc shingles medline plus shingles american academy of dermatology shingles shingles (zoster): questions and answers southern cross medical library shingles - causes, symptoms, treatment, vaccination health link bc shingles vaccine


Research: pranjal nimbalkar, n. s. kshirsagar, manisha laddad. “study reports on varicella zoster in term pregnancy and its outcome”. journal of evolution of medical and dental sciences 2014; vol. 3, issue 25, june 23; page: 7053-7057, doi: 10.14260/jemds/2014/2858 sequencing and characterization of varicella-zoster virus vaccine strain suduvax by jong ik kim et al., virology journal20118:547 doi: 10.1186/1743-422x-8-547

jayaseelan e. catching shingles from chicken pox. indian j dermatol venereol leprol [serial online] 2000 [cited 2016 may 28];66:51-2. available from: facial herpes zoster infection precipitated by surgical manipulation of the trigeminal nerve during exploration of the posterior fossa: a case report by nassir mansour et al., journal of medical case reports20093:7813 doi: 10.4076/1752-1947-3-7813 investigating effects of amine based modifier on recycled asphalt shingles blending by govinda sedhay et al., american journal of engineering and applied sciences 7 (1): 105-114, 2014 issn: 1941-7020 clinical case study article front. oncol., 24 april 2013 | active shingles infection as detected on 18f-fdg pet/ct by razi muzaffar et al., new vaccine for shingles: is prevention really better than treatment? joel m. kauffman, ph.d. journal of american physicians and surgeons volume 10 number 4 winter 2005 varicella zoster virus-its pathogenesis, latency & cell-mediated immunity by sreeja p. kumar et al., oral & maxillofacial pathology journal [ ompj ] vol. 4 no. 2 july - dec. 2013 issn 0976 – 1225 evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine volume 1 (2004), issue 3, pages 223-232 review:shingles immunity and health functioning in the elderly:tai chi chih as a behavioral treatment by michael irwin et al., the impact of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia on quality-of-life by robert w johnson et al., bmc medicine20108:37 doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-8-37 herpes zoster: a clinicopathologic correlation with literature review by n.malathi et al., oral and maxillofacial pathology journal, january-june 2014;5(1):449-452 oro-facial herpes zoster: a case report with a detailed review of literature by d.a.vineet et al., oral & maxillofacial pathology journal [ ompj ] vol. 4 no. 1 jan - june 2013 issn 0976 – 1225

kumar s, jain a p. disseminated "shingles" in the nephrotic syndrome. saudi j kidney dis transpl [serial online] 2010 [cited 2016 may 28];21:1155-6. available from:


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