DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Shingles: close-up of group of blebs (blisters) on the skin. Shingles or herpes zoster is caused by the varicella-zoster (V-Z) virus, which also causes chickenpox. During an attack of chickenpox most of the viral organisms are destroyed, but some survive and lie dormant in certain sensory nerves often for months or years. A decline in the efficiency of the immune system allows the viruses to re-emerge, causing an unpleasant rash and pain due to nerve damage. The drug idoxuridine may be given to inhibit virus proliferation and may limit the extent of the rash and the effect on sensory nerves.
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