The varicella vaccine. Prevention of herpes zoster

Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1996 Sep;10(3):657-75. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5520(05)70319-6.


The live attenuated varicella vaccine offers some hope that the frequency or severity of herpes zoster might be reduced. Universal immunization with this vaccine should result in less latent varicella-zoster virus in dorsal root and cranial nerve ganglia than that which occurs following varicella. Moreover, the vaccine virus is not well adapted for growth in human cells at normal body temperature. Thus, reduced virus for reactivation, and less robust replication, may lessen the problem of herpes zoster in vaccinees. For those individuals who have already had varicella, the risk of herpes zoster is closely related to the loss of varicella-zoster virus cell-mediated immune responses, which decline with aging (or immune suppression). In aging individuals these immune responses can be enhanced by booster immunization with the varicella vaccine, suggesting that a vaccine to prevent herpes zoster is feasible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / immunology
  • Chickenpox Vaccine / immunology
  • Chickenpox Vaccine / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Herpes Zoster / immunology
  • Herpes Zoster / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged


  • Chickenpox Vaccine