Infections - Zoster

Herpes zoster (or simply zoster), commonly known as shingles and may also be called zona, is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a limited area on one side of {the} body, often in a stripe. The initial infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes {the} acute (short-lived) illness chickenpox which generally occurs in children and young people. Once an episode of chickenpox has resolved, {the} virus is not eliminated from {the} body but can go on to cause shingles—an illness with very different symptoms—often various years after {the} initial infection.

Varicella zoster virus can become latent in {the} nerve cell bodies and less often in non-neuronal satellite cells of dorsal root, cranial nerve or autonomic ganglion, without causing any symptoms. Years or decades after a chickenpox infection, {the} virus might possibly break out of nerve cell bodies and travel down nerve axons to cause viral infection of {the} skin in {the} region of {the} nerve. The virus might possibly spread from one or more ganglia along nerves of an affected segment and infect {the} corresponding dermatome (an area of skin supplied by one spinal nerve) causing a painful rash. Although {the} rash usually heals within two to four weeks, some sufferers experience residual nerve pain for months or years, a condition called postherpetic neuralgia. Exactly how {the} virus remains latent in {the} body, and subsequently re-activates is not understood.

Throughout {the} world {the} incidence rate of herpes zoster every year ranges from 1.2 to 3.4 cases per 1,000 healthy individuals, increasing to 3.9–11.8 per year per 1,000 individuals among those older than 65 years. Antiviral drug treatment can reduce {the} severity and duration of herpes zoster if a seven- to ten-day course of these drugs is started within 72 hours of {the} appearance of {the} characteristic rash.

Herpes Simplex Conjunctvitis





Herpes Zoster



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