What is the shingles virus, How is shingles spread to others

What is the shingles virus, How is shingles spread to others


What is the shingles virus


Scientists believe that in the original battle with the chickenpox virus some of the virus particles leave the skin blisters and move into the nervous system. There the viruses settle down in an inactive (latent) form inside specific nerve cells (neurons) that relay information to the brain about what your body is sensing — whether your skin feels hot or cold, whether you've been touched or feel pain. These lie in clusters (ganglia) adjacent to the spinal cord and brain and are one type of sensory neurons.
What is the shingles virus, How is shingles spread to others
shingles virus
When the chickenpox virus reactivates, the virus moves down the long nerve fibers that extend from the sensory cell bodies to the skin. The viruses multiply, the telltale rash erupts, and the person now has herpes zoster, or shingles. With shingles, the nervous system is more deeply involved than it was during the bout with chickenpox, and the symptoms of shingles are often more complex and severe.

The virus responsible for shingles and chickenpox belongs to a group of viruses called herpesviruses. This group includes the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores, fever blisters, mononucleosis, genital herpes — a sexually transmitted disease, and Epstein-Barr virus involved in infectious mononucleosis. Like the shingles virus, many other herpesviruses can take refuge in the nervous system after an individual has suffered an initial infection. These viruses may remain latent for years, then travel down nerve cell fibers to cause a renewed infection.

The varicella-zoster shingles virus looks as though it were designed by a mathematician. It is a microscopic sphere encasing a 20-sided geometric figure called an icosahedron. Inside the icosahedron is the genetic material of the virus, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). When activated, the shingles virus reproduces inside the nucleus of an infected cell. It acquires its spherical wrapping as it buds through the nuclear membrane.

Images, pictures of shingles virus


Some pictures of the shingles virus:

Images, pictures of shingles virus



How is shingles spread


A person must have already had chickenpox in the past to develop shingles. A person can not get shingles from a person that has it. However, the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles can be spread from a person with active shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox or been vaccinated through direct contact with the rash. The person exposed would develop chickenpox, not shingles. The virus is not spread through sneezing, coughing or casual contact.

When an individual has shingles in the "blister phase," an open blister or sore carries microscopic copies of the virus onto the person's skin. If that person also has openings on the skin, or in the mouth, the virus can infiltrate the new host and cause an outbreak. Almost all individuals who come into contact with an active case of shingles contract chickenpox, then retain the virus in a dormant state.