Overview of Chickenpox
Chickenpox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster) are distinct diseases caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The VZV is a herpesvirus.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious rash that usually occurs in childhood. It is the manifestation of a primary infection. Shingles is usually a localized, unilateral (occurs on one side of the body) eruption that follows a linear pattern along a nerve. Shingles is a reactivation of a dormant varicella-zoster virus.