Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Group of adults.

About 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as herpes zoster, in their lifetime. An estimated 1 million people get shingles each year in this country. If you’ve ever had chickenpox, you can get shingles. Even children can get shingles. Your risk of shingles increases as you get older.

What causes shingles?

Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. This virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.

Get the new shingles vaccine if you are 50 or older. More
Signs & Symptoms
rash on front and back of the body.
  • Pain, itching, or tingling of the skin followed by a
  • Painful rash of blister-like sores, usually on one side of the body, often on the face or torso
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Upset stomach
Shingles Vaccine
Vaccination.

Recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV, Shingrix) is the recommended vaccine to prevent shingles in adults 50 and older.

Zostavax is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020.

Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020