Overload

Shingles

Category: Illness or disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

 

Shingles is caused by the Chicken pox virus - the Varicella Zoster virus.

Many adults who have had chicken pox as children are susceptible to shingles as adults, often with the accompanying condition postherpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that makes it difficult to sleep.

The Varicella Zoster Virus, is what is called a Latent virusVirus latency (or viral latency) is the ability of a pathogenic virus to lie dormant (latent) within a cell, only to re-emerge much later in life.  A latent viral infection is a type of persistent viral infection. Latency is thus the phase in certain viruses' life cycles in which, after initial infection, proliferation of virus particles ceases. However, the viral genome is not fully eradicated. The result of this is that the virus can reactivate and begin producing large amounts of viral progeny without the host being infected by new outside virus.

 

Although we now have chicken pox vaccines, for example, many of these vaccines use live viruses.  Although as a child we may build up an immunity and appear not to have the virus, it is possible that the virus is not eradicated by the immune system after the vaccination, and has merely 'laid low' waiting for an opportunity to re-emerge.

There are now cases starting to appear on PubMed of children vaccinated as small children, who 'contract' the disease in their teens, when they are stressed or at a low ebb.  They are then incidentally, capable of passing the infection on.  If the virus has re-emerged, it has re-emerged.

There is an irony to this, as by vaccinating world-wide, western doctors in their zeal may have succeeded in spreading the virus all over the world in places where it was not active before.  It is also clear that in doing so, the children that are most at risk from dying or developing disease, are the indigenous peoples of these countries.

One hundred seventy-eight notifications were received [of VZV] and 144 were confirmed cases. Māori and Pacific Island (PI) children accounted for 74% of hospitalisations, ….. Complications included: infection (75%), respiratory (11%), neurological (11%), electrolyte disturbance (6%) and haemorrhagic varicella (4%). Nine per cent were immunocompromised. Median duration of hospital admission was 4 days with 9% requiring intensive care admission. There were no reported deaths; however, 19% had ongoing problems at discharge…..  Varicella has more associated morbidity than commonly perceived in immunocompetent children. Māori and PI children are more likely to have complications. PMID:  26041441

Re-emergence

Captiontext

The virus emerges when the immune system is not as active as it should be, or we have compromised it by using immunosuppressants, for example, or anti-histamines.

All the viruses in the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine, for example, have latency, so the same is true here.  A family of viruses able to do this is the Herpes Virus family, Herpesviridae, all of which establish latent infection. [Herpes virus include Chicken-pox virus and Herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1, HSV-2)].  In the case of the varicella zoster virus, after an initial acute infection (chickenpox) the virus lies dormant until reactivated as herpes zoster.  And this is what shingles is - infection by Herpes Zoster.

The latent virus of Measles can re-emerge to produce rheumatoid arthiritis, various eye diseases and even multiple sclerosis.  The mumps virus can cause cancer. Ovarian cancer is associated with the mumps virus. Furthermore some still very weak links are starting to emerge between the mumps virus and stomach cancer and testicular cancer.  The rubella virus can also cause rheumatoid arthritis, as well as cataracts, glaucoma and uveitus.  Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented layer that lies between the inner retina and the outer fibrous layer composed of the sclera and cornea.

So vaccination may prevent childhood infection, but it does not prevent re-emergence later in life.  Our only real protection is to use food as our ally in boosting the immune system and not to use immunosuppressants!

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are increasingly being treated with different drugs (both non-biologic and biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs - DMARDs) that may have immunomodulatory, cytotoxic, or immunosuppressive effects; in particular, anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) agents are raising major concern as regards safety issues.
An increased risk of infections has been extensively reported during anti-TNF treatment, owing to the primary role of TNF in host defense and immune responses.
Although in clinical practice cases of reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV) infections during therapy with TNF inhibitors commonly occur, the knowledge on this topic deriving from randomised clinical trials is limited.
In this narrative review we focus on the pathophysiology of VZV infection and the role of TNF, and report the available data about VZV outbreaks recorded on Registries of rheumatic patients treated with anti-TNF agents.
Finally, we discuss screening strategies and promising preventive measures against VZV infection.  PMID:  26394271

 

Shingles affects one in three adults, especially those who are immune suppressed/compromised. However, stress can bring on shingles as well, simply because stress compromises the immune system.

The role of immunosuppressants in reactivating latent viruses

The role of immunosuppressants in reactivating latent viruses in general is becoming very clear with the continued work from a few dedicated researchers.  In the following example, it may help to know that Fingolimod is an immunosuppressant.  It suppresses the immune system and thus suppresses the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis.  One of the more fascinating aspects of this research is that it looks as though the VZV virus is also implicated in causing multiple sclerosis.

Fingolimod, an oral sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator, is approved for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). ….. The immunological basis of varicella zoster virus (VZV) infections during fingolimod treatment is [here] studied.   …. Key features in peripheral blood were an about two-fold increase of VZV-specific IgG at diagnosis of VZV reactivation as compared to the previous months ….. Further research into fingolimod-associated VZV reactivation and immune reconstitution is mandatory to prevent morbidity and mortality associated with this potentially life-threatening condition. PMID:  26378517

More details

More details on the virus and the possible foods that help alleviate the condition can be found in the section on Chicken pox.

A small number of observations has also been added below, but all the main healing observations are listed under the Chicken pox entry.

 

Related observations