Does occasional exposure to patients with herpes zoster in some way confer an immunity or a less severe episode of the disease? — Charles Nagel, PA-C, Huntsville, Texas
Herpes zoster represents the emergence of latent virus, specifically the varicella virus. The virus remains dormant in a dorsal root ganglia.
Herpes zoster is not contagious per se; however, exposure to herpes zoster may confer varicella on an exposed, unimmunized contact person.
Herpes zoster is typically triggered by stressors including re-exposure to the varicella virus, chronic inflammatory disease, medications, or emotional stress. Occupational exposure to patients with zoster has no effect on risk of reactivation of the virus. — Claire O’Connell, MPH, PA-C (190-4)
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