Jefferson County Public Health Service

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Public Health Facility, 531 Meade Street, Watertown, New York 13601

Media Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Faith Lustik Health Planner (315) 786-3723 Shingles Can Be Prevented Watertown, NY –April 16, 2013 ~ The Jefferson County Public Health Service (JCPHS) encourages all adults to learn about the need for the shingles vaccination and receive a vaccine if indicated. According to the CDC, almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster. There are an estimated 1 million cases each year in this country . Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body. For reasons yet to be understood, the virus can reactivate years later and cause shingles. About half of all cases occur among adults 60 years old or older. People who have medical conditions that keep their immune systems from working properly, such as certain cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and people who receive immunosuppressive drugs, such as steroids and drugs given after organ transplantation are also at greater risk of getting shingles. Shingles usually starts as a painful rash on one side of the face or body. The rash forms blisters that typically scab over in 7–10 days and clears up within 2–4 weeks. Before the rash develops, there is often pain, itching, or tingling in the area where the rash will develop. This may happen anywhere from 1 to 5 days before the rash appears. Long term nerve pain can develop and be difficult to control. The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles and the long-term pain that can follow shingles is to get vaccinated. A vaccine for shingles is licensed for persons aged 60 years and older. At this time, CDC does not have a recommendation for routine use of shingles vaccine in persons 50 through 59 years old. However, the vaccine is approved by FDA for people in this age group. The Jefferson County Public Health Service (JCPHS) encourages adults to check if all their vaccinations are up to date, including influenza, tetanus-diptheria-pertussis, pneumococcal, hepatitis A, meningococcal disease, and measles, mumps and rubella at If you travel to other countries you may need additional vaccinations. See your healthcare provider or pharmacist for your shingles vaccination. The JCPHS also holds immunization clinic every Wednesday from 12:30-3:30pm on a walk-in basis for adults and children needing routine vaccinations. If you are traveling to another country and need vaccines please call 786-3720 to discuss your vaccine needs. ~End~

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