ABOUT THE DISEASE
Herpes zoster (or zoster), commonly known as shingles, is caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV). It often happens on face, waist or at the back. However, it can also happen on any body parts along nerves. There would be painful rash during incidence, sometimes accompanying with fatigue, headache, chills or upset stomach. Later on, blisters appear. Level of pain would be differ among people and some people may describe it as tingling or electric shocking sensation. It is more likely to happen on people aged 50 and above and recurrence is common.
Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication of zoster and can last for weeks or months or even years. People with older ages are more likely to have longer-lasting and more severe PHN. When zoster appears near eye or ear areas, vision or hearing may be affected and blindness or deafness can be resulted in severe cases. It is critical to seek for medical consultation and get timely treatments within 72 hours from the onset of disease.
ABOUT THE VIRUS
Varicella zoster virus (VZV) appears as chickenpox when a person is firstly infected. After recovered, the virus stays inside nerve ganglia and remains inactive. The virus will be reactivated under certain unfavorable conditions of the people, for example, old ages, under stress or with weaken immune system. High risk groups of people include those who have diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory diseases, renal failure, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and people with impaired immune system – HIV patients, cancer patients like leukemia and lymphoma, patients on chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs like steroids or post-organ transplants.
This virus can be spread, from fluid of blisters, from an active zoster patient to a person who has never been infected from VZV before. In this case, the newly infected person gets chickenpox instead of zoster, and again the virus hides inside body and will be reactivate when trigger criteria is fulfilled.
ABOUT THE VACCINE
Zostavax® has been launched since 2006, after registration at the United States Food and Drug Administration. It can reduce chance of occurrence and recurrence of zoster and also pain level during acute state and PHN. People aged 50 or above, people who have history of zoster and people in high risk groups are recommended to receive this vaccine.
Side effects are usually mild, including pain, redness and swelling of the injection site, fatigue, headache and low-grade fever. Slight signs and symptoms of chickenpox may also happen in a small chance. For severe discomfort, please seek for medical consultation as soon as possible.
These vaccines are approved to be safe and effective to protect against the stated HPV types. Vaccination can be given to males and females at 9 years old and above. Side effects are usually mild, including pain, redness and swelling of the injection site, dizziness, fatigue and low-grade fever. For severe discomfort, please seek for medical consultation as soon as possible.
For further enquiries or bookings for vaccination, please contact us (+852) 2779 8388.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/shingles