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Diseases Like Shingles

Shingles strikes 1 million Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with most cases reported among individuals older than 50. However, younger people--even infants--can also develop shingles, leaving patients wondering whether they have shingles or a similar disease, such as chicken pox, herpes or smallpox. While laboratory tests provide definitive diagnosis, doctors can usually distinguish between shingles and diseases, like shingles, on the basis of history and physical findings.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Chicken Pox

Chicken pox and shingles share the same etiology--infection with the varicella-zoster virus. Chicken pox results from the initial infection, when the virus spreads through the bloodstream. Shingles results when the virus awakens within the roots of spinal and sometimes cranial nerves. Shingles, Straus writes, produces clusters of lesions that appear on just one side of the body, within a relatively limited area. In addition, notes Straus, shingles almost never produces lesions below the knees or the elbows.

  • Chicken pox and shingles share the same etiology--infection with the varicella-zoster virus.
  • Shingles, Straus writes, produces clusters of lesions that appear on just one side of the body, within a relatively limited area.

Herpes

Causes of Cold Sores Other Than Herpes

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They also tend to affect different areas. The name “shingles” comes from the Latin word “cingulum” which means girdle or belt, describing the disease’s preference for the back and trunk. Herpes, by contrast, usually strikes the mouth or genitals. In addition, says Corey, herpes usually recurs, especially during the first year that the disease is acquired. Shingles almost never recurs, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, except in people with immune system problems, such as AIDS 1.

  • They also tend to affect different areas.
  • In addition, says Corey, herpes usually recurs, especially during the first year that the disease is acquired.

Smallpox

Smallpox has emerged as an agent of interest in biological warfare, because:

  • it results in 10 to 30 percent mortality
  • say H

Clifford Lane
M.D.,
Anthony S. Fauci
M.D.
of the National Institutes of Health. Death, explain Lane and Fauci, results not from the skin rash, but from severe systemic symptoms that accompany it. While shingles, chicken pox and herpes can also produce systemic symptoms, they are characteristically mild and rarely result in death. Even the rash is different, according to Lane and Fauci. Like chicken pox, smallpox typically affects the entire body. However, smallpox blisters begin on the head, arms and legs and moves inward to the trunk, while chicken pox follows the opposite pattern.

  • Smallpox has emerged as an agent of interest in biological warfare, because: * it results in 10 to 30 percent mortality
    * say H Clifford Lane
    * M.D.,
    * Anthony S. Fauci
    * M.D.
    * of the National Institutes of Health.
  • Death, explain Lane and Fauci, results not from the skin rash, but from severe systemic symptoms that accompany it.
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