Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash. It is caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. Nearly 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. Anyone who has had chickenpox or received chickenpox vaccine in the past may develop shingles. Even children can get shingles. However, the risk of getting the disease increases as you get older. About half of all cases occur in men and women who are 60 years old or older.

Cause

Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles. Shingles is not caused by the same virus that causes genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease.

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