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Pain Research and Management
Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 275-282

Herpes Zoster and Postherpetic Neuralgia: Past, Present and Future

Gary J Bennett1 and C Peter N Watson2

1Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Dentistry, and The Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVES: The history behind the current understanding of the varicella-zoster virus and its relationship to the pain conditions caused by shingles and postherpetic neuralgia are reviewed. The framework for the current conceptualization is Hope-Simpson’s latency hypothesis. Data from recent work in virology, neuroanatomy and epidemiology are reviewed, as is work using varicella-zoster virus-infected animals. The recent data largely confirm Hope-Simpson’s hypothesis and extend it significantly.