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What causes shingles?

Herpes zoster (shingles) affects about one million people every year in the U.S. Shingles is triggered by the varicella zoster virus, which first causes chicken pox and then lies dormant in the body.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. After you suffered that bout of chicken pox as a child, this virus stays in your system throughout life. It can affect a nerve root in your spine 50 or 60 years later to cause the intense pain associated with this weird ailment.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...
Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. If you had chickenpox when you were younger, then as you get older, the same zoster virus can reactivate in the form of shingles.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.