varicella-zoster virus, VZV
varicella-zoster virus, VZVThe virus responsible for CHICKENPOX and for subsequent herpes zoster (shingles). The virus becomes established in the sensory ganglions of cranial and spinal nerves. Immunity after the first attack is high, but as the years pass waning VZV-specific memory T cell function allows reactivation of the virus so that shingles commonly occurs. Vaccination after the age of 60 may reduce the risk of shingles.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005