Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful, blistering rash. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. You can only get shingles if you have had chickenpox in the past.
The shingles rash develops into painful blisters that may also be itchy, usually on one side of the body, either on the face, chest, back, abdomen or pelvis. They can take several weeks to settle. In 1 in 10 people, the pain and tingling of shingles can last for months or even years. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia.
Vaccination is the best protection against shingles. If you're eligible, you can get shingles vaccines for free under the National Immunisation Program. See more information about when to get vaccinated.
Find out more about getting vaccinated against shingles.
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
For information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, see healthdirect's shingles page.
Surveillance and reporting
Shingles is a nationally notifiable disease.
We monitor cases through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS).
For more on shingles in Australia, you can search Communicable Diseases Intelligence.