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. 

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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)

These are letters from practitioners around the country who want to share their clinical problems and successes, observations and pearls with their colleagues. We invite you to participate. If you have a clinical pearl, submit it here.