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Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, is a painful disease that results from the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After varicella (chickenpox) infection, the virus lies dormant for many years and for unknown reasons will become active again and present itself in the form of shingles, an often debilitating and blistering rash that typically affects a side of the body or face. Some individuals may experience severe long-term pain after the shingles rash has disappeared, as well as other complications, including skin infections and scarring, which can interfere with normal day-to-day activities.

Approximately 90% of Canadians have had chickenpox and are at risk of developing shingles. Individuals aged 50 to 60 years may benefit from being immunized against herpes zoster. Immunization is recommended for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and its complications in persons 60 and older without contraindications (National Advisory Committee on Immunization).


National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) 2010. Statement on the Recommended Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccine. (external link)

Shingles brochure, in English
English (PDF: 116k)
French (PDF: 117k)
Shingles pocket guide for immunizers, in English
Pocket guide for immunizers
English (PDF: 83k)
French (PDF: 89k)

inforgraphic, in English
English (PNG: 459k)
French (PNG: 468k)