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2. Mechanism of Action

The dormant varicella-zoster virus hides in nerve tissues after an active infection of chickenpox. Shingles outbreaks occur along nerves because the virus itself affects nerve tissue. RHS occurs when the virus reactivates along sensory nerves in the face. The 7th cranial nerve and 8th cranial nerve (the auditory or vetibulocochlear nerve) are the most common sites of RHS. These nerves run parallel to each other in a small area called the facial canal. The nerves are so close together that RMS almost always affects both simultaneously.

cranial nerves, auditory, dormant, reactivate alphabetMN / Getty Images
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