Shingles is a viral disease that causes a painful, itchy, blistered rash. An estimated 1 in 3 adults are likely to suffer from shingles at least once in their lifetime.
The virus responsible for shingles is the varicella zoster virus (also known as herpes zoster virus), the same one that causes chickenpox in children. When you have chickenpox as a child the virus doesn’t completely go away, instead it lies dormant in your nerve cells.
In adulthood, the virus can reactivate and bring on a shingles attack. Shingles isn’t contagious and you can’t pass it on to people you’re in close contact with, however you could transmit chickenpox to someone who hasn’t had that infection or the chickenpox vaccine.