Shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Caused by varicella-zoster virus (VZV) which is the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella)
  • Varicella zoster is part of a group of viruses called herpes viruses
  • Shingles is characterized by painful rashes/blisters usually on face/torso.
    • Other symptoms: itching, burning, numbness, tingling, sensitivity to touch, blisters that scab over
Q & A

What causes shingles?

  • Reason is unclear
  • Anyone who has had chickenpox can still get shingles.
  • Higher risk in older adults with weakened immune systems.
  • Can still develop shingles despite vaccination but a vaccination can reduce the severity and duration of a shingles breakout.

How is shingles spread?

  • A person with shingles can pass it to anyone who is not immune to chickenpox (varicella) via direct contact.

Can I still get the shingles vaccine even if I have had chickenpox before?

  • Yes, you can still develop shingles even though you are immune to chickenpox.
  • Given a normally functioning immune system -  once you have had chickenpox, you cannot get chickenpox again.
  • Vaccines are available for both chickenpox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster).
The Shingles (herpes zoster) Vaccine