Shingles is a viral infection that causes painful rashes. The condition can affect any part of the body and usually appears in the form of a single strip of blisters surrounding either the left or the right side of the trunk. But is it the same virus that causes chickenpox? Yes, that's true, it's caused by the zoster virus called Varicella. If you ever had chickenpox, the virus is inactive in your nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain, and it may reactivate as a shingles in later years. The reason for the addition is not clear, but may be due to weak immunity to infection. Affected are often people with weak immune systems. Varicella zoster belongs to a group of viruses called herpesviruses. These include viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes. Therefore, shingles is also known as herpes zoster. But the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles is not the same virus responsible for cold sores or genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection. Although the condition is not considered life-threatening, it is definitely very painful. There are vaccines that help reduce the risk of shingles. To learn more about the causes, watch this video.