n SA Pharmaceutical Journal - Shingles vaccine in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia - focus on

Volume 86 Number 6
  • ISSN : 2221-5875
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1017


Infection with the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes two distinct clinical manifestations, namely varicella (chickenpox) and herpes zoster (shingles). Primary infection, which generally occurs during childhood, results in varicella (chickenpox). Following the initial infection, the virus enters the nerves and travels along the nerves to infect dorsal route ganglia (nerve cells), where it remains dormant/latent for many years. In the latent state the virus is inactive and may never cause symptoms again or the virus may be reactivated in the future (usually many years after the initial infection). Reactivation of the latent VZV results in shingles. VZV-specific host cell-mediated immune responses are essential for maintaining latency and limiting the likelihood for reactivation.

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