What are triggers for VZV reactivation?

Updated: Feb 11, 2021
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Reactivation of VZV that has remained dormant within dorsal root ganglia, often for decades after the patient’s initial exposure to the virus in the form of varicella (chickenpox), results in herpes zoster. [1] Exactly what triggers this reactivation has not yet been determined precisely, but likely candidates (alone, or in combination) include the following:

  • External reexposure to the virus

  • Acute or chronic disease processes (particularly malignancies and infections)

  • Medications of various types

  • Emotional stress

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