WHAT IS SHINGLES?
Shingles, otherwise known as Herpes Zoster Virus (VZV/HHV-3) is a more serious version of chicken pox and just one of eight different viruses that are infectious to people in the herpesvirus family (although there are 100 known herpes viruses).
As children, acute infection leads to varicella, or “chicken pox.” It’s contagious through direct contact with a skin lesion or through airborne spread from respiratory droplets.
Over 90% of today’s adults acquired the Varicella virus during childhood and lifelong immunity is boosted every time there is contact with an active case of wild chickenpox. Historically, children have generously given their parents, teachers, pediatricians, and the community at large this “immune boost,” which keeps them from experiencing shingles later in life. With more and more children getting the chicken pox vaccine since it became available in 1995, fewer and fewer children are getting this childhood acute illness, and are not supplying the immune boost needed to avoid the virus later in life.