Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Can Shingles Recur?

Tuesday, 03 Jul 2012 04:36 PM


Question: I have had shingles. Can it come back again? Should I get the Zostavax vaccine now?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Shingles is a reactivation of the latent phase of the varicella-zoster (chickenpox) virus. It can be partially prevented by administration of Zostavax vaccine, a live weakened version of the chickenpox virus in higher concentration than the chickenpox vaccine used in children.

Vaccination is recommended for all healthy adults over 60 years of age who meet the criteria for safe vaccination. Vaccination induces the production of antibodies directed at this virus that lasts for at least several years.

Shingles does not usually recur. Fewer than 4% of patients with shingles experience another outbreak, and these patients with recurrences should be checked for underlying immune deficiences and any signs of hidden malignancy.



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