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Tag Archive: latent virus

Facial Paralysis Can be Caused by Shingles

eye herpes

Did you know? Shingles can affect the eye and cause loss of vision.

Although older people usually suffer from shingles, the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) can actually infect people of all ages. Research shows that when the immune system is damaged, the virus can attack the eye. This condition is called herpes zoster opthalmicus (HZO).

In up to 31% of those with HZO, the virus causes paralysis in muscles outside of the eye.

Dr. Chaker and colleagues wrote in a recent study that, “HZO may cause extraocular muscle palsies of the third, fourth, and sixth cranial nerves in 7-31% of patients … the extraocular muscle palsies (muscular paralysis) usually appear 2-4 weeks after the rash, but sometimes occurs simultaneously with the rash or more than 4 weeks later.” (See the Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice. from April, 2014)(1) Dr. Chaker and colleagues are part of the Faculty of Medicine of Tunis at the University of El Manar in Tunisia.

Allow us to point out that Herpes Zoster (HZ), commonly called shingles, is a distinctive syndrome caused by reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV). This reactivation happens whenever immunity to VZV declines as a result of aging or immunosuppression (a damaged immune system).

Herpes Zoster can happen at any age, yet it “commonly affects the elderly population.” (See Mayo Clinic Proceedings, from March 2009)(2) When the immune system is damaged, a latent virus, such as VZV, can increase in number, causing shingles, and resulting diseases.

The CDC notes that “Nearly 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. Anyone who has had chickenpox or received chickenpox vaccine in the past may develop shingles.” (See CDC, last updated May 1, 2014)(3)

In addition to muscular paralysis, herpes zoster can also cause the following conditions in the eye: “conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, the outermost layer of the eye, and the inner surface of the eyelids), keratitis (inflammation of the eye’s cornea), episcleritis (inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that lies between the conjunctiva and the connective tissue layer that forms the white of the eye), scleritis (a serious inflammatory disease that affects the white outer coating of the eye), uveitis (inflammation of the uvea), secondary glaucoma (a condition characterized by fluid pressure in the eye that can lead to blindness), cataract (a clouding of the lens inside the eye which leads to a decrease in vision), and retinal necrosis (an aggressive, necrotizing inflammation of the eye’s retina).” (1)

shingles paralysis

Herpes zoster opthalmicus (HZO) can cause paralysis of the facial muscles.

Are there effective treatments against the VZV?

WebMD says that, “several antiviral medicines-acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir-are available to treat shingles. These medicines will help shorten the length and severity of the illness. But to be effective, they must be started as soon as possible after the rash appears. Thus, people who have or think they might have shingles should call their healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Analgesics (pain medicine) may help relieve the pain caused by shingles. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching.” (See WebMD, last updated May 1, 2014)(4)

Allow us to remind everyone that there are also two safe and effective natural VZV remedies designed to help the immune system target the latent virus. These remedies are Novirin and Gene-Eden-VIR. The formula of these products was tested in two separate post-marketing clinical studies, which found that the formula was antiviral, and that it reduced symptoms caused by herpes viruses. (See Pharmacology & Pharmacy, August 2013)(5)


(1) Chaker N, Bouladi M, Chebil A, Jemmeli M, Mghaieth F, El Matri L. Herpes zoster ophthalmicus associated with abducens palsy. J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2014 Apr;5(2):180-2.

(2) Priya Sampathkumar, MD, Lisa A. Drage, MD, and David P. Martin, MD, PhD Herpes Zoster (Shingles) and Postherpetic Neuralgia. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. March 2009.

(3) CDC – Shingles (Herpes Zoster). Last updated May 1, 2014.

(4) WebMD – Shingles Health Center – Topic Overview. Last updated December 18, 2012.

(5) Polansky H, Itzkovitz E. Gene-Eden-VIR Is Antiviral: Results of a Post Marketing Clinical Study. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 2013, 4, 1-8

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Shingles and CFS: One Virus May Explain Both Conditions


A shingles rash forms blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and that clears up within 2 to 4 weeks.

Doctors have long suspected that those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), may be infected with a virus. The problem has always been obtaining sufficient evidence to back this hypothesis.

Now, however, at least one study found that individuals who experience a shingles (herpes zoster) outbreak are almost twice as likely to develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). (1)

“Infection of the peripheral ganglia causes at least some cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), with a neurotropic herpesvirus, particularly varicella-zoster virus (VZV).” (See Medical Hypotheses, from 2009) (2)

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex disorder accompanied by unexplained, persistent fatigue (tired and weak all the time), in which several factors contribute to the development of the disease, such as latent viral infections.

Man with CFS

Dr. JS Shapiro wrote in the study quoted above that “virtually all CFS symptoms could be produced by an infection of the peripheral ganglia, with infection of the autonomic ganglia causing fatigue, postural hypotension, and sleep disturbances, and infection of the sensory ganglia causing sensory symptoms such as chronic pain.” (2) Dr. Shapiro is from the University of Michigan.

What he means, is that when the latent VZV infects the nerves, individuals can experience long term loss of memory or concentration, feeling unrefreshed after sleep, muscle pain, headaches, multi-joint pain without redness or swelling, and a frequent sore throat.

By itself, this doesn’t suggest that the virus, which causes shingles, also causes CFS.

However, Dr. Shapiro continued, writing that “infections of the peripheral ganglia are known to cause long-term nerve dysfunction, which would help explain the chronic course of CFS. Herpesviruses have long been suspected as the cause of CFS; this theory has recently been supported by studies showing that administering antiherpes agents causes substantial improvement in some CFS patients.” (2)

As we are sure you know, “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 in a dormant (inactive) (latent) state. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.” (See the CDC’s website last updated on January 10, 2011) (3).

Apparently, according to the findings of these new studies, the latent varicella zoster virus may also be the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

If you would like to learn more about latent viruses and the chronic conditions and diseases that they can cause, we suggest that you visit the website of the Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease.

-The Team

Click to learn more about latent viruses like VZV.



(1) Tsai SY1, Yang TY, Chen HJ, Chen CS, Lin WM, Shen WC, Kuo CN, Kao CH. Increased risk of chronic fatigue syndrome following herpes zoster: a population-based study. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2014 Sep;33(9):1653-9.

(2) Shapiro JS. Does varicella-zoster virus infection of the peripheral ganglia cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Med Hypotheses. 2009 Nov;73(5):728-34.

(3) – Shingles (Herpes Zoster) – Signs & Symptoms

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