Shingles is also known as herpes zoster. Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus.
Varicella zoster virus will infect the epithelial cells of the respiratory which later spread to the skin via the blood and lymphatic system that lead to eruption of the vesicular rash.
Latent infection at the dorsal root ganglia may occur due to the spreading of the virus to the neurons and nerves. The latent infection can be triggered by immuno compromise state due to AIDS or malignancy, currently on immunosuppressive therapy in case of organ transplantation and increasing age.
Varicella zoster virus infection primarily may lead to chicken pox. Chicken pox ( varicella ) is characterized by generalized vesicular rash, fever and malaise which later progress into scabs and pustules.
The reactivation of varicella zoster virus may lead to shingles in adult. Shingles is characterized by painful vesicular lesion in the dermatome innervated by sensory ganglia. Shingles / herpes zoster may only occur in patient who previously suffer from chicken pox.
Varicella zoster virus is highly contagious and transmitted via respiratory droplets. Varicella zoster virus is detected via varicella zoster virus specific antibody staining or through Tzanck smear of lesion’s cell which may reveal multinucleated giant cells.
The common complication of herpes zoster / shingles is postherpetic neuralgia.
Varicella zoster infection can be prevented with live attenuated vaccine or passive varicella zoster virus immune globulin in immunocompromised patient.
The treatment may include anti viral such as famciclovir, valacyclovir and acyclovir.
Kembara's Health Solutions
Discovering the world of health and medicine.