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Frequently Asked Questions

4. What causes shingles?

Child with chickenpox - Click to enlarge in new window.
Click to enlarge image

Shingles is caused by a germ called the varicella-zoster virus -- the one that gave you chickenpox when you were a child. As you recovered from chickenpox, the sores and other symptoms healed, but the virus remained. You carry it in the nerve cells around your spine for the rest of your life. (Answer continues on next page.)