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Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Elderly couple.

Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Nearly 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles; even children can get shingles. However, the risk of getting the disease increases as a person gets older. About half of all cases occur among men and women who are 60 years old or older... more

Shingles Topics

Couple. About Shingles

Describes the disease, its symptoms, how it’s spread, possible complications, treatment and prevention, photos of shingles...

In this 2006 photograph a middle-aged woman was receiving an intramuscular vaccination into her left shoulder muscle from a female nurse. Vaccination

General information about the shingles vaccine, vaccine safety, who should and should not be vaccinated, clinical information for healthcare professionals...

Healthcare professional. For Healthcare Professionals

Information for healthcare professional on clinical features, complications, risk factors, transmission, herpes zoster rates...

Young woman sitting by microscope, writing, side view Laboratory Testing

Guidelines for collecting specimens for VZV testing, specimen collection form, instructions for shipping to CDC National VZV Laboratory...

Resources and References

General resources and references, clinical education, media resources...


Lists a feature story (article of interest to health consumers searching the internet), podcasts, and a web button related to shingles...


Did you know?

Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body in a dormant (inactive) state. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles. Herpes zoster is not caused by the same virus that causes genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease.



Want to Know More About Shingles?

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Shingles Vaccination

Shingles vaccine.

Almost 1 out of 3 people in America will develop shingles during his or her lifetime. The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles (herpes zoster) is to get vaccinated. Adults 60 years old or older can receive a single dose of the shingles vaccine.


Herpes Zoster Rates Are Increasing, but Why?

video image of Dr. Craig Hales

CDC Expert Commentary in Partnership with Medscape: Dr. Craig Hales discusses why the increases in shingles rates among adults are unlikely to be related to childhood chickenpox vaccination.

View video(4:06 minutes)

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