Varicella (chickenpox) is a highly contagious airborne disease caused by primary infection with the varicella zoster virus (VZV). Following the resolution of chickenpox, the virus can remain dormant in the dorsal sensory and cranial ganglion for decades. Shingles (herpes zoster [HZ]) is a neurocutaneous disease caused by reactivation of latent VZV and may progress to postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is characterized by dermatomal pain persisting for more than 120 days after the onset of HZ rash, or "well-established PHN", which persist for more than 180 days. Vaccination with an attenuated form of VZV activates specific T-cell production, thereby avoiding viral reactivation and development of HZ. It has been demonstrated to reduce the occurrence by approximately 50-70%, the duration of pain of HZ, and the frequency of subsequent PHN in individuals aged ≥ 50 years in clinical studies. However, it has not proved efficacious in preventing repeat episodes of HZ and reducing the severity of PHN, nor has its long-term efficacy been demonstrated. The most frequent adverse reactions reported for HZ vaccination were injection site pain and/or swelling and headache. In addition, it should not be administrated to children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons or those allergic to neomycin or any component of the vaccine.
Keywords: chickenpox, herpes zoster, herpes zoster vaccine, human herpesvirus 3, postherpetic neuralgia