Varicella zoster virus


00:00 / 00:00



Varicella zoster virus

Integumentary system

Pigmented skin disorders



Acneiform skin disorders

Acne vulgaris



Hidradenitis suppurativa

Papulosquamous and inflammatory skin disorders

Contact dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis

Lichen planus

Pityriasis rosea


Seborrhoeic dermatitis


Keratotic skin disorders

Actinic keratosis

Vesiculobullous skin disorders

Epidermolysis bullosa

Bullous pemphigoid

Pemphigus vulgaris

Desquamating skin disorders

Erythema multiforme

Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Skin integrity disorders

Pressure ulcer




Skin infections




Necrotizing fasciitis

Human papillomavirus

Varicella zoster virus

Poxvirus (Smallpox and Molluscum contagiosum)


Herpes simplex virus


Malassezia (Tinea versicolor and Seborrhoeic dermatitis)

Pediculus humanus and Phthirus pubis (Lice)

Sarcoptes scabiei (Scabies)

Human herpesvirus 6 (Roseola)

Parvovirus B19

Varicella zoster virus

Measles virus

Rubella virus

Skin neoplasms

Vascular tumors

Human herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi sarcoma)


Skin cancer

Hair and nail disorders

Alopecia areata

Telogen effluvium


Integumentary system pathology review

Pigmentation skin disorders: Pathology review

Acneiform skin disorders: Pathology review

Papulosquamous and inflammatory skin disorders: Pathology review

Vesiculobullous and desquamating skin disorders: Pathology review

Skin cancer: Pathology review

Bacterial and viral skin infections: Pathology review

Viral exanthems of childhood: Pathology review


Varicella zoster virus


0 / 25 complete

USMLE® Step 1 questions

0 / 2 complete

High Yield Notes

10 pages


Varicella zoster virus

of complete


USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

of complete

A 71-year-old woman presents to her primary care provider for evaluation of painful lesions on the forehead. The lesions appeared approximately one week ago and started off as small fluid filled sacs. Over the past few days, the lesions have become more red and painful. Past medical history is notable for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and asthma. She does not consume tobacco or alcohol. Vital signs are within normal limits, and physical examination is notable for the following finding:

Image reproduced from Wikimedia Commons

If untreated, this patient is at highest risk of developing which of the following complications?

External References

First Aid








Crust (skin) p. 487

varicella zoster virus p. 491

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) p. 161, 487, 491

guanosine analogs p. 198

immunodeficient patients p. 116

meningitis p. 177

rash p. 178

Reye syndrome p. 399

vaccine p. 108


Content Reviewers

Rishi Desai, MD, MPH


Stefan Stoisavljevic, MD

Sam Gillespie, BSc

Varicella zoster virus is one of the herpesviruses and it causes two diseases - varicella or chickenpox, and herpes zoster also known as shingles.

Zoster actually refers to a type of belt used by ancient Greek warriors because of the belt like appearance of shingles.

Now, let’s first talk a bit about the nervous system - it consists of two parts.

The central nervous system which includes the brain and the spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system includes the nerves that fan out from the central nervous system to reach the skin, muscles, and organs.

Peripheral nerves that originate from the brain are called cranial nerves, and they’re in charge of motor and sensory innervation of the head and neck.

A specific cranial nerve, cranial nerve V, is the trigeminal nerve and it’s responsible for the sensation in the face.

Its sensory neurons create a nerve cell cluster called trigeminal ganglion, located in the bones on the side of the face between the eyes and ears.

The peripheral nerves originating from the spinal cord are called the spinal nerves.

Each nerve is formed by a dorsal and a ventral root.

Ventral roots contains neurons that carry motor innervation from the spinal cord to the muscles.

Sensory information, like touch, temperature, pain, and pressure from the skin and other tissues travel through 1st order sensory neurons, in the dorsal root ganglion near the spinal cord, then through the dorsal root, and into the spinal cord, where it synapses with the 2nd order neurons.


Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is a virus that causes two different diseases, chickenpox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster). Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects children, causing an itchy rash, fever, and other symptoms. The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with the rash, as well as through the air. Shingles is a painful condition that occurs when the virus reactivates later in life, usually in older adults or people with weakened immune systems. Shingles typically cause a painful rash, blisters, and other symptoms, and can sometimes lead to long-term nerve pain. The virus is spread through direct contact with the shingles rash. Vaccines are available to help prevent both chickenpox and shingles, and antiviral medications can be used to treat both conditions.


Copyright © 2023 Elsevier, except certain content provided by third parties

Cookies are used by this site.

USMLE® is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). COMLEX-USA® is a registered trademark of The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. NCLEX-RN® is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Osmosis or this website.