The varicella zoster virus causing shingles is usually spread by direct contact with someone with active shingles lesions. This transmission of the varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox in someone who has never had the virus. After chickenpox, the varicella virus can stay in the person's body even after the person has recovered from chickenpox. This dormant varicella virus is activated when the immune system is weakened, which can lead to shingles.
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