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Herpes Zoster Paper Example

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This paper explains the painful rash known as shingles caused by the varicella-zoster virus (Herpes Zoster). We discuss the signs and symptoms, as well as the potential causes and implications, of shingles. The likelihood of shingles increases with age, and it is anticipated that around one-third of all people living in the United States may be affected by this condition at some point. It is essential to point out that the virus can infect and produce chickenpox in people who have neither had chickenpox before nor been inoculated against it. This is something that should be stressed. Individuals over 50 who want to protect themselves from shingles and the complications that can arise from the disease should get two doses of the Shingrix vaccination. Individuals must be aware of shingles’ risk factors and symptoms to seek medical care without delay if they develop an epidemic.


Herpes zoster (shingles) is an infection that manifests as a painful rash. The virus responsible for this is called varicella-zoster. (VZV). The chickenpox virus is the same as this one. The chickenpox virus lingers in the body even after symptoms have subsided. It could be years before any issues arise. However, the reactivation of the virus that causes shingles is a natural part of the aging process. Shingles are not contagious. You can’t catch shingles from another person. However, if you come into contact with the fluid from a person’s shingles rash, you will have chickenpox. If the shingles outbreak is concealed, the spread of the virus is reduced. It is impossible for a person with shingles to infect others before the rash appears or after the rash has crusted over. This study takes a more holistic look at shingles.

Signs and Symptoms

Depending on the person, the symptoms of shingles, as well as the strength of those symptoms, can range anywhere from moderate to severe. The following are some of the most common symptoms of shingles: Shingles frequently manifest themselves with localized pain or tingling in one particular region of the body. The pain can be terrible, and it may feel as though it is either stabbing or burning. A few days later, a rash will appear at the location of the pain. In addition, blisters may accompany the rash, usually in bands or stripes. When you scratch the rash, it may cause you to experience some pain.

Blisters packed with fluid develop during an outbreak of shingles, which can be highly excruciating. In most cases, a recovery time of one week is necessary for the blisters to crust over and heal. Having shingles with a fever at the same time can be a sign that the virus has spread to other organs in the body. Another symptom of shingles is a headache, which can range in intensity from mild to severe (Saidhbi et al., 2022). It is not uncommon to feel exhausted and generally weak after having shingles, which commonly come hand in hand with the condition. The affected area may become touch-sensitive, making wearing certain textiles unpleasant or sleeping in them unpleasant.

Although shingles typically only affect one side of the body, this side might be anywhere from the torso to the face. Rarely can shingles spread to the eyes, resulting in impaired eyesight. Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a chronic pain disease that can last for months or even years after the rash has healed and can result from shingles. In addition to these symptoms, shingles can also cause scarring, visual issues, and bacterial skin infections.

Who at Risk/ Statistics

Nearly one-third of U.S. residents will get shingles at some point in their lives, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People over 50 have an increased risk of getting shingles due to the disease’s association with aging. About half of all occurrences of shingles are seen in adults over 60, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 1 million instances of shingles are reported annually across the globe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More cases of shingles have been reported in North America, Europe, and Asia than in other regions. Different racial and cultural groups have been found to have a slightly higher or lower risk of contracting shingles, according to studies. The incidence of shingles was lower in African Americans than in Caucasians and greater in Hispanics. These variations may have hereditary or environmental roots, neither of which have been completely explored.

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a consequence of shingles in which the pain from the rash does not go away even after the rash has healed. People over 60 who get shingles have a 10-to-18% chance of getting PHN, a condition whose risk rises with age. The chance of acquiring shingles and PHN can be greatly reduced by getting the shingles vaccine, which the CDC advises for anybody over 50. Shingles were lowered by 51% and PHN by 67% in research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005.

Herpes zoster occurs at about 4 per 1,000 people annually in the United States. There is roughly one new case for every 100 in the United States population aged 60 and up yearly. Herpes zoster can cause many flare-ups, but the frequency with which this happens is unknown. Herpes zoster usually manifests itself just once in a person’s lifetime. Complications from herpes zoster affect about 1-4% of contractions. Hospitalization rates are higher for the elderly and those with impaired or suppressed immune systems. Thirty percent of all herpes zoster hospitalizations include patients whose immune systems are already impaired or suppressed. Herpes zoster causes PHN in about 10% of adult patients.

It is important to note that shingles are not contagious, but the varicella-zoster virus can be spread to people who have not had chickenpox or been vaccinated against it. This can result in the person developing chickenpox, not shingles. Prevention measures include the Shingles vaccine, recommended for people over 50. Maintaining a healthy immune system through a balanced diet, exercise, and stress management techniques is also important.

Etiology / Microbiology of Shingles

The exact reason for reactivation is unknown; however, it is likely connected to a compromised immune system due to aging or stress. According to microbiology, VZV is related to herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus, and Epstein-Barr virus (Bienes et al., 2022). Direct contact with an infected person’s rash or blister fluid is the only way to catch the virus. If someone with shingles comes into contact with someone who has never had chickenpox, the unvaccinated person may end up with chickenpox.

The risk of getting shingles grows with age, and over 30% of the population will get it at some point in their lives. People with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or those receiving chemotherapy, are also at a greater risk of contracting shingles. Shingles are characterized by a painful blistering rash in bands or clusters on one side of the body. In most cases, a diagnosis of shingles can be made by observing the patient’s symptoms and signs. In some situations, a definitive diagnosis may require laboratory testing, such as viral culture or polymerase chain reaction (PCR).


The Centers for Condition Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons 50 and over obtain two doses of the Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccination) vaccine to prevent shingles and the associated problems (Bakker et al., 2022). Those adults aged 19 and up with compromised immune systems due to sickness or treatment should also receive two doses of Shingrix due to their increased vulnerability to the disease and its consequences. Shingrix is administered as an upper-arm injection by a doctor or pharmacist.

 When used as directed, Shingrix effectively prevents both shingles and PHN. Shingrix prevents shingles and PHN in over 90% of persons aged 50 and up with normal immune systems. The first seven years following inoculation are the most protective. Shingrix has been shown to prevent shingles in adults with impaired immune systems, with a success rate of 68% and 91%, depending on the underlying disease.

The growth has been slow and steady over a considerable time frame. There is no explanation for this jump in prices. The rates are stabilizing among the elderly. According to some specialists, exposure to varicella may increase immunity to VZV and decrease the likelihood of VZV reactivation (Bienes et al., 2022). Therefore, they worry that a rise in cases of herpes zoster in adults may result from the widespread use of varicella immunization in children, which has been recommended in the United States since 1996.

Children vaccinated against varicella have lower rates of herpes zoster than children with natural infections with varicella. This is because vaccinated children are less likely to become infected with wild-type VZV, and the risk of reactivation of vaccine-strain VZV appears lower compared with reactivation of wild-type VZV (De Clercq, 2022). The number of older adults who have received the varicella vaccine since it was licensed in 1995 is small. There is very little information on the risk of herpes zoster in people who got the varicella vaccine as adults.

If you have ever had shingles, you can use Shingrix to protect yourself from getting them again. Shingrix can be administered at any time after a shingles outbreak has subsided, though it is recommended that the rash be completely gone before vaccination (Bakacs et al., 2023). The virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles (varicella-zoster virus). The chickenpox virus remains latent (inactive) in the body long after symptoms have subsided. It can produce shingles years after the initial infection.


The varicella-zoster virus, often known as VZV, is the virus that is responsible for chickenpox and can also cause shingles when it becomes active again. After a person fully recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the nerve tissue near the brain and spinal cord. It is not known for certain what triggers the reactivation of the virus; however, a weakened immune system due to aging, stress, sickness, injury, or medication is a plausible option. Transmission of the virus requires direct contact with the fluid that drains from rash blisters or the respiratory secretions of a person who is sick.


  • Bakacs, T., Sandig, V., & Kovesdi, I. (2023). Combination Therapy for the Treatment of Shingles with an Immunostimulatory Vaccine Virus and Acyclovir. Pharmaceuticals, 16(2), 226. https://doi.org/10.3390/ph16020226
  • Bakker, K. M., Eisenberg, M. C., Woods, R. J., & Martinez, M. E. (2022). Identifying optimal vaccination scenarios to reduce varicella zoster virus transmission and reactivation. BMC medicine, 20(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-022-02534-7
  • Bienes, K. M., Mao, L., Selekon, B., Gonofio, E., Nakoune, E., Wong, G., & Berthet, N. (2022). Rapid Detection of the Varicella-Zoster Virus Using a Recombinase-Aided Amplification-Lateral Flow System. Diagnostics, 12(12), 2957.
  • De Clercq, E. (2022). FV-100 for the Treatment of Varicella-Virus (VZV) Infections: Quo Vadis?. Viruses, 14(4), 770. https://doi.org/10.3390/v14040770
  • Saidhbi, S., Endris, A., Deepajothi, S., Juliana, R., Kshirsagar, P. R., & Mohan, A. (2022, May). Infection detection in older person using artificial intelligence. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 2393, No. 1, p. 020084). AIP Publishing LLC.
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