What causes herpes zoster (shingles)?

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

Herpes zoster (shingles) is caused by VZV infection. VZV is an enveloped, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Herpesviridae family; its genome encodes approximately 70 proteins. In humans, primary infection with VZV occurs when the virus comes into contact with the mucosa of the respiratory tract or conjunctiva. From these sites, it is distributed throughout the body. After primary infection, the virus migrates along sensory nerve fibers to the satellite cells of dorsal root ganglia where it becomes dormant.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!