Disseminated zoster

Some people who have shingles get a blistery rash that spreads over a large portion of the body (disseminated zoster).

Disseminated zoster can affect the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, joints, and intestinal tract. Infrequently, infection can also spread to nerves that control movement, which may cause temporary weakness. In very rare cases, disseminated zoster may affect the nerve that supplies the bladder, causing paralysis of the bladder and problems with urination.

In rare cases, disseminated zoster can spread to the tissues or membranes of the brain and spinal cord and cause inflammation there (meningitis or encephalitis). This can be dangerous.

Most people who have shingles don't get disseminated zoster. People who have a weakened immune system have a greater chance of getting this condition.

Last Updated: March 9, 2009

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