How are chickenpox and shingles connected?

Chickenpox and shingles are both caused by the same virus, the varicella-zoster virus (VZV).

In some people, after they’ve had chickenpox, VZV can become active again later in life, when it causes shingles. You cannot catch shingles from someone else.

However, if you’re not immune to VZV, it’s possible to catch chickenpox from a shingles rash on an exposed part of the body, however, this risk is very small. 

Read more information about shingles.

If you’re pregnant and want more information, see What are the risks of shingles during pregnancy?

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 11/11/2013

Next review due: 10/11/2015