Research Article

Pathophysiological and Epidemiological Aspects of Herpes Zoster: A Short Review

Author: Georgia Kyriakou

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes two distinct diseases, varicella and herpes zoster. Varicella represents the primary form of VZV infection which usually occurs among children. Herpes Zoster (HZ) is caused by endogenous reactivation of latent VZV, and is mainly observed in the elderly and immune compromised individuals. It is characterized by prodromal pain along one or more skin dermatomes and grouped herpetic form vesicles on an erythematous base. The lack of VZV-specific immune surveillance, abnormalities of host cellular events-induced silencing of VZV gene expression, immune senescence and immune suppression have been implicated in HZ pathogenesis. The HZ incidence increases with advancing age and HZ recurrence is more frequently observed in immune compromised individuals compared to immune competent persons. The zoster vaccine has been shown to reduce the HZ incidence and postherpetic neuralgia by exogenous boosting of VZV-specific immunity