Alternate Names : Herpes Zoster, Varicella Zoster
What can be done to prevent the infection?
Primary varicella-zoster infection, or chickenpox, can be prevented. If chickenpox is prevented, shingles will not occur. Healthy children and some adults are given varicella vaccine, which prevents chickenpox. People with weak immune systems that have not had chickenpox may be given varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) if they are exposed to chickenpox.
What are the long-term effects of the infection?
In most cases, shingles goes away in a week or so and causes no long-term effects. However, some cases result in serious long-term effects. Eye infection may lead to serious eye problems, including blindness. Some people have chronic pain in the area of the blisters that doesn't go away for months or even years. Paralysis in the part of the body that had blisters occurs very rarely. In people with a weak immune system, the virus may cause a serious infection in the body. This may result in liver, brain, or lung damage, and possibly even death.
What are the risks to others?
The virus can be spread to others if they are exposed to the fluid in the blisters. If people who have not received the varicella vaccine or been exposed to chickenpox before are exposed to someone with shingles, they may develop chickenpox.