Monday, October 29, 2007

Shingles Vaccine

Ask your grandparents if they've gotten the shingles vaccine! Here are some pretty interesting factoids:

-Shingles, or herpes zoster, can infect anyone who has had chickenpox (though it is not known whether it will infect those who have received the chickenpox vaccine)
-The virus causes a latent, persistent infection (in the theme of the week) that chills out for years in nerve roots near the spinal cord
-When the virus is reactivated, it migrates down the nerve to the skin, where it causes severe pain and a blistering rash, in addition to fever and headache. While rare, there is the possibility pneumonia, blindness, encephalitis, and death
-The vaccine, which has been approved for those 60+ who have had chickenpox is proven to prevent 50% of shingles (1 in 2 85-year-olds will have had shingles), is given in a single injected dose and contains the same attenuated virus as the chickenpox vaccine but is 14 times as potent

Link to NYTimes Article:,%20Conditions,%20and%20Health%20Topics/Viruses&oref=slogin


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