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A study over 5 1/2 years has shown that a high dose of the vaccine for chickenpox can protect against late onset shingles in adults. Shingles (herpes zoster) is a sequelae to chickenpox (varicella zoster) that can happen many years after the initial illness. After a bout of chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the nerves until the body's defence system is compromised, i.e. with age or illness, when the virus is reactivated in the nerves and presents with extremely painful blisters on a patch of skin on one side of the face or body. Warning signs for shingles includes feeling altered sensation such as tingling, itching or pain in the skin, following which, blisters erupt in that area that take up to 4 weeks to heal. Anti-viral therapy can be used in the early stage of the disease, but does not reduce the risk of ongoing pain after 3 days of symptoms. Some people continue to get pain after their shingles event, called postherpetic neuralgia. Half of the study population did not experience shingles, while those who did succumb only received a moderate case. It is estimated that by 85 years of age, half the population will have suffered from shingles.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Medical News Today
About: Vaccine for late onset shingles
Date: 2 June 2005
Source: Medical News Today
Author: Laurie Doepel
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