What Causes Shingles?
Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later and cause shingles.
How Common is Shingles?
Almost 1 out of 3 people in America will develop shingles during their lifetime. Nearly 1 million Americans experience the condition each year. As you get older, you are more likely to get the disease. About half of all shingles cases occur in people age 60 years or older.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. However, a person with shingles can transmit VZV to others. A person who gets infected with VZV for the first time will develop chickenpox, not shingles.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Shingles/ to learn more about Shingles.