DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The lower back and a buttock of a patient affected by shingles, also known as herpes zoster. Herpes zoster is caused by the varicella-zoster virus which also causes chickenpox. It is an infection of the nerves that supply certain areas of the skin. The infection starts with pain in the area affected, which sometimes may be severe. After about five days rash appears with red spots which quickly turn into tense blisters. Within three days the blisters become yellowish and soon dry often leaving small pitted scars. The pain is a consequence of damage to the nerves and may last for months or years. Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir are used to minimise nerve damage.
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