Fast Five Quiz: Herpes Zoster Risk Factors and Prevention

Ranjani Somayaji, MD; Heidi Moawad, MD


August 30, 2023

Herpes zoster, or shingles, is a painful viral infection that occurs via the reactivation of varicella-zoster virus. Approximately 30% of the world's population will develop herpes zoster during their lifetime, making it a significant global health burden. The classic presentation of herpes zoster is the appearance of a unilateral, dermatomal rash that is painful, pruritic or both; however, herpes zoster does not always cause a visible rash. Herpes zoster can affect individuals of any age, particularly those with suppressed immunity owing to disease or drugs, but adults aged > 50 years are at much greater risk of developing herpes zoster, probably because of waning immunity. Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common and serious complication of herpes zoster; others include secondary bacterial infections, ophthalmic complications, cranial and peripheral nerve palsies and, rarely, segmental zoster paresis. Because vaccination against herpes zoster is the most effective method for preventing herpes zoster and its complications, identifying at-risk individuals can help to increase the uptake of the vaccine.

How familiar are you with herpes zoster risk factors and prevention? Test your knowledge with this quick quiz.


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