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Logo of procrsmedFormerly medchtJournal of the Royal Society of MedicineProceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine
 
Proc R Soc Med. 1965 January; 58(1): 9–20.
PMCID: PMC1898279

The Nature of Herpes Zoster: A Long-term Study and a New Hypothesis

Abstract

Dr Hope-Simpson presents a study of all cases of herpes zoster occurring in his general practice during a sixteen-year period. The rate was 3·4 per thousand per annum, rising with age, and the distribution of lesions reflected that of the varicella rash.

It was found that severity increased with age, but that the condition did not occur in epidemics, and that there was no characteristic seasonal variation. A low prevalence of varicella was usually associated with a high incidence of zoster.

Dr Hope-Simpson suggests that herpes zoster is a spontaneous manifestation of varicella infection. Following the primary infection (chickenpox), virus becomes latent in the sensory ganglia, where it can be reactivated from time to time (herpes zoster). Herpes zoster then represents an adaptation enabling varicella virus to survive for long periods, even without a continuous supply of persons susceptible to chickenpox.

Full text

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • BURGOON CF, Jr, BURGOON JS, BALDRIDGE GD. The natural history of herpes zoster. J Am Med Assoc. 1957 May 18;164(3):265–269. [PubMed]
  • DOWNIE AW. Chickenpox and zoster. Br Med Bull. 1959 Sep;15:197–200. [PubMed]
  • FELDMAN GV. Herpes zoster neonatorum. Arch Dis Child. 1952 Apr;27(132):126–127. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • LEWIS GW. Zoster sine herpete. Br Med J. 1958 Aug 16;2(5093):418–421. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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  • SEILER HE. A study of herpes zoster particularly in its relationship to chickenpox. J Hyg (Lond) 1949 Sep;47(3):253–262. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • TAYLOR-ROBINSON D, DOWNIE AW. Chickenpox and herpes zoster. 1. Complement fixation studies. Br J Exp Pathol. 1959 Aug;40:398–409. [PubMed]
  • WEDDELL G, MILLER S. Cutaneous sensibility. Annu Rev Physiol. 1962;24:199–222. [PubMed]
  • WELLER TH, STODDARD MB. Intranuclear inclusion bodies in cultures of human tissue inoculated with varicella vesicle fluid. J Immunol. 1952 Mar;68(3):311–319. [PubMed]
  • WINKELMANN RK, PERRY HO. Herpes zoster in children. J Am Med Assoc. 1959 Oct 17;171:876–880. [PubMed]

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