schingleThe Shingles: Shingles is a viral disease caused by a reactivation of varicella zoster virus or VZV, belonging to the family of herpes virus responsible for The varicella.

Shingles is characterized by vesicles spread over the skin, usually on the chest with a line more or less horizontal as a belt, shingles means belt elsewhere in ancient Greek.

The signs of the disease:
The diagnosis of herpes zoster is done before the appearance of red patches on the skin, they are covered with blisters filled with clear liquid then they dry to form scabs that fall a few days later. Burning-type pain is often felt in the skin area corresponding to the affected nerves. The intensity of pain before the typical rash, often characterized as severe pain on contact, can range from a single gene to intolerable pain, often paroxysmal. There is also a local decrease in skin sensitivity, and increased volume of lymph nodes (swollen lymph nodes).

First note that patients are contagious by direct contact and that for one week following the appearance of vesicular lesions. patients will not transmit shingles but the varicella zoster.

Causes and Risk Factors
The latent or asymptomatic infection caused by the varicella-zoster can become active again, even many years after having had the varicella. This new infection can occur during a period when the immune system is somehow less effective. Several reasons may explain this decrease of immunity:

  • aging;

  • disease;

  • taking medications that suppress immune function (i.e. corticosteroids)

  • infection with HIV or certain forms of cancer;

  • radiotherapy.

Exposure to chemicals increases the risk of suffering from shingles according to a study conducted in North Carolina.

Widespread problem
More than 100,000 cases of shingles are registered each year in France, in Switzerland the number of cases estimated is about 13 000 each year and more than 500,000 cases are reported in the United States.

The annual incidence is between 1.5 and 4 new cases per thousand. It is much more common between aged persons. third of people over the age of 60 developing shingles will have post-therapeutic neuralgia pains (a very annoying pain). At age of 70, this figure climbs to 50%.

A person who has never been infected of varicella should be careful not to touch the blisters on the skin of a person with varicella or shingles. You can avoid the reactivation of the virus and the onset of shingles, making sure to have a strong immune system.