Herpes Zoster also known as zoster or shingles is a painful contagious viral disease which is characterized by blisters in limited area and painful skin rashes. These blisters full of liquid and pus appear on either side of the body or face, left or right in a single stripe. This disease is caused by varicella zoster virus which develops short lived or acute illness named as chickenpox that is usually seen in young adults and children. Patients who never got chickenpox cannot get shingles. The onset of the infection caused by this virus is also seen years after the episode of chicken pox has been resolved as at that time varicella virus is not eliminated completely from the body. Though shingles can develop at any age, people who had chickenpox before the age of 1 and people who are above the age of 60 are more likely to develop this condition. Senior citizens (aged 60 and above). People whose immune system is weakened by medications or disease are also likely to develop this condition. Diagnosis usually depends on the signs and synonyms of the person. After the resolution of chicken pox herpes virus remains in latent phase in nerve cell bodies or in non-neuronal satellite cells of the cranial nerve, autonomic ganglia or dorsal root. However, after decades the virus is again activated due to weakening of immune system that might occur owing to fever, aging or stress. The virus may spread from one nerve ganglia to another of an affected skin area. Headache, fever, nausea and malaise are the earlier symptoms of herpes zoster which may also result in incorrect diagnosis. However, these symptoms may be followed by itching, burning pain, oversensitivity or numbness. Over this area rash or band strip is developed which turns into blisters few days later. This blister is filled with fluid that usually takes 2 weeks to 4 weeks to recover.
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Shingles is most common in old age people as compared to young age generation because they have weak immune system that might develop due to fever, stress, certain medications or injury. Similarly, people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy or taking medications such as steroids that weaken immune system are more prone to be victim of shingles infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) in the United States every year more than 1 million cases of herpes zoster are estimated. Similarly, approximately 1 out of every 3 people in the United States develops herpes zoster once in their lifetime. Thus, for the diagnosis of herpes zoster laoboratory tests are performed which majorly detects VZV-specific IgM antibody in the blood. This antibody occurs in the blood stream only during the time of chicken pox or herpes zoster. After the diagnosis of the disease certain medications also prescribed for the treatment that include antiviral medications (acyclovir, famciclovir and valcyclovir), narcotic medications, anti-inflammatory medications, antihistamines (Benadryl), anticonvulsants or zostrix cream and others.
Furthermore, for the prevention of viral infection vaccines are prescribed to prevent an individual from developing severe shingles complications or symptoms. Zostavax is a live vaccine that is marketed for VZV. These vaccines are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), U.S. to reduce the risk of shingles and its associated pain in people aged over 60 years. In England annual incidence of shingles for those aged 70 years to 79 years is anticipated to be around 800 to 900 cases per 100,000 people.
Geographically, North America is the leading geography followed by the European market. Market growth of these regions is accounted due to presence of large base of population suffering from shingles. Asia-Pacific and Rest of the world region in the future are expected to emerge as fastest growing economies in this market.
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Herpes Zoster Market Key Players
Major players that are involved in the development of therapeutics against shingles include Astellas Pharma, Inc. GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Foamix Ltd., Epiphany Biosciences and Merck & Co.
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