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Mayo Clin Proc. 1999 Oct;74(10):983-98.

Varicella zoster viral disease.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.


Herpes zoster is cause of considerable morbidity, especially among elderly patients, with a suggestion of a slight increase in incidence among female patients. Substantial research on the biology of the varicella zoster virus has led to advances in our knowledge of the pathophysiology of the disease along with more successful therapy for the acute episodes of herpes zoster. Ophthalmic zoster is more common than zoster in other cranial nerves and is associated with pronounced suffering. This article reviews the epidemiology, biology, and latency of herpes zoster, discusses the pathophysiology of the disease, and describes treatment options with antivirals and corticosteroids. The pathophysiology and treatment options for postherpetic neuralgia are also addressed. The varicella vaccine is now available, and initial results suggest that this may lessen the effect of herpes zoster in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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