Chickenpox and shingles, one virus for two different diseases

After the initial injury, it settles into a quiet form and can be reactivated years later.

“Don’t scratch yourself, or I’ll wear gloves on you!” Some children remember chickenpox, the horrible itching it causes, and the impossible parenting command. For the vast majority of them, this very common childhood illness leaves no trace or serious memory. But after 50 years, varicella-zoster virus (VZV, for varicella-zoster virus) remembers 15-20% of the French as shingles, a synonym for sometimes terrible pain that can last for years. How can one virus cause two very different diseases? decode.

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“It corresponds to the initial infection with VZV, explainss Nadine Attal, a neurologist at Hospital Ambroise Paré (AP-HP), in Boulogne-Billancourt. In other words, chickenpox is the disease caused by an individual’s first exposure to this virus.” During the incubation phase, from 10 to 21 days, the virus spreads throughout the body to re-emerge, after reproducing, in …

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