Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Virol. 2010 May;48 Suppl 1:S2-7. doi: 10.1016/S1386-6532(10)70002-0.

Advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of herpes zoster.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

The primary varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection results in chickenpox (varicella), which is transmitted via the airborne route. VZV is highly infectious, but in the USA the incidence of varicella has been reduced by 76-87% as a result of the varicella vaccine. The virus establishes latency in the dorsal root ganglia during varicella and, when reactivated, travels along the sensory nerve axons to cause shingles (herpes zoster [HZ]). There are over 1 million cases of HZ in the USA each year, with an estimated lifetime attack rate of 30%. The incidence of HZ, which causes significant morbidity, increases with age and reaches approximately 10 cases per 1,000 patient-years by age 80. Cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is known to decline with age as part of immunosenescence, and decreased CMI is associated with reactivation of VZV. This article provides an overview of our emerging understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of varicella and HZ, in addition to exploring the current theories on latency and reactivation. Understanding the risk factors for developing HZ and the complications associated with infection, particularly in older people, is important for prompt diagnosis and management of HZ in primary care, and they are therefore also reviewed.

2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20510263
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk