Shingles (also called herpes zoster) is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus stays inactive in the body for life and can reactivate years, or even decades later, causing shingles. In the US, shingles strikes nearly one million people each year, and roughly half of them are age 60 years and older. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of shingles. Shingles is associated with normal aging and anything that weakens the immune system such as certain medications, cancers, or infections, but it can also occur in healthy children and younger persons. Shingles is not passed from person to person.
Learn more about shingles and the vaccine to prevent it in adults on adultvaccination.org.