The Herpesviridae family includes viruses that infect animals and humans (Siakallis 2009). Varicella vaccination leads to a reduction in cases of varicella that may in turn increase herpes zoster rates due to reduction in the immune boosting effect of exposure to varicella zoster virus against varicella reactivation. HZ developed in 26 (58%) of 45 patients (13/21 (62%) allogeneic and 13/24 (54%) autologous patients) with hematologic malignancy; most of these patients had undergone total body irradiation. Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the varicella zoster virus. The focus of this protocol is typical manifestations of HSV-1 and -2, as well as shingles (varicella zoster). The annual zoster incidence for those 60 or older was 740 per 100,000. Prompt antiviral therapy reduced the mortality rate and significant morbidity associated with HZ.
After having chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in nerve tissue underneath the skin. This stage is known as the primary infection, and while it can be accompanied by a period of illness, patients may also be completely asymptomatic and remain unaware that they have been infected. Shingles is contagious and can easily pass through touching from one person to another. The virus develops into shingles for people who have had chicken pox and develops into chicken pox for those who have not had it. Shingles appears most frequently among older adults (age 60+) and in people with compromised immune systems. The primary infection – chickenpox – is a childhood infectious disease that almost always causes symptoms. Pain, burning, numbness or tingling on one side of the body.
The pain often precedes any other symptoms. A rash that appears a few days after the pain. Usually chickenpox affects patients for 5 to 10 days (CDC 2011). Blisters that break open and then crust over. Fever, achiness or headache. Shingles usually heals in about 2 to 3 weeks without any problem. Childhood vaccination against varicella zoster (Varivax®) can help protect against chicken pox, and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for most children (CDC 2008).
This is called postherpetic neuralgia. Catching shingles early and beginning treatment can reduce the likelihood and severity of postherpetic neuralgia. See your dermatologist for pain relief. In such cases, the person exposed to the virus could develop chickenpox (rather than shingles). Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine, called Zostavax, for the prevention of adult shingles. It is approved for adults age 60 or older who have had chicken pox. Essentially, the vaccine delivers a booster dose of chicken pox.
Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious.