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).