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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Viral Infections

Question: Zoster virus

 switz2001 - Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:13 pm

I am a 26 year old female medical student. About 6 months ago I got a very bad rash on my buttocks (one-sided) with pain in my nerve. The doctor said it was bacterial and gave me antibiotics. However, I had two other minor outbreaks (just a couple small bumps), and then I am recovering from the fourth outbreak now. I went to a dermatologist this time and she definatively said it was shingles. However, in these past months I have also had a few sinus infections w/cough. I have one right now as well.

I have read that most people usually only get one outbreak of shingles, and it's not generally recurrent. My question is, should I seek more medical advice and testing concerning other possible diseases with my immune system being involved?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:29 pm

User avatar Hi Switz2001,

First, let me congratulate you on getting into medical school and choosing medicine as a profession. It is an incredibly rewarding field.

Regarding shingles, it is possible to have more than one outbreak. Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus (chickenpox virus) and represents a reactivation of this virus. The virus hides in the nerve roots until it reactivates, accounting for the dermatomal distribution of the rash.

Shingles often manifests when the the body is stressed and the immune system is weakened. If you continue to get these outbreaks it would be a good idea to see your doctor. Using a suppressive medicine may help keep the virus down until your immune system has a chance to recover.

Best wishes.

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