DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Herpes zoster. Close-up of a rash of herpes zoster (shingles) vesicles on the back of a 68-year-old woman. This condition is caused by infection of sensory nerves with the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. The virus can remain dormant in the body for years after chickenpox, becoming active again if the immune system is weakened. It attacks nerves feeding the skin, causing a rash of small, painful blisters in a defined area. Damage to nerves can result in the pain persisting for months or even years after the blisters have disappeared. There is no effective cure.
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