PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What is varicella zoster?

ANSWER

Varicella zoster is a virus. It causes chickenpox, also called varicella and shingles, called herpes zoster.

After the chickenpox runs its course, the virus retreats to nerve tissues near your spinal cord and brain, where it hides out.

Doctors don’t know why, but sometimes the virus wakes up and travels along nerve fibers to your skin and causes shingles.

SOURCES: American Academy of Dermatology: “Shingles: Overview,” “Shingles: Diagnosis and Treatment.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Shingles: What Is Shingles?”

CDC: “Chickenpox: Complications,” “Shingles Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know,” “Shingles: Transmission.”

Mayo Clinic: “Shingles: Definition.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Shingles: What are the Symptoms of Shingles.”

National Institutes of Health.

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on May 22, 2018

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

SOURCES: American Academy of Dermatology: “Shingles: Overview,” “Shingles: Diagnosis and Treatment.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Shingles: What Is Shingles?”

CDC: “Chickenpox: Complications,” “Shingles Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know,” “Shingles: Transmission.”

Mayo Clinic: “Shingles: Definition.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Shingles: What are the Symptoms of Shingles.”

National Institutes of Health.

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on May 22, 2018

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.