What are risk factors for herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Jan 25, 2019
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Zoster probably results most often from a failure of the immune system to contain latent VZV replication. Whether other factors, such as radiation, physical trauma, certain medications, other infections, and stress, also can trigger zoster has not been determined with certainty. Nor is it entirely clear why circulating varicella antibodies and cell-mediated immune mechanisms do not prevent recurrent overt disease, as is common with most other viral illnesses.


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