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Book and New Media Reviews
August 2003

Herpes Zoster and Postherpetic Neuralgia,2nd revised and enlarged edition (Pain Research and Clinical Management, vol 11)

Author Affiliations



edited by C. Peter N. Watson and Anne A. Gershon, 280 pp (paperback),$70, ISBN 0-444-50681-0 (hardcover available), Amsterdam, the Netherlands,Elsevier Science BV, 2001.

Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(8):1087. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.8.1087-a

More than 500 000 cases of herpes zoster occur annually in the United States. An increase in elderly and immunocompromised individuals in our Western societies will likely result in a higher prevalence of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivation in the future. Therefore, most practicing physicians will be confronted with the disease and its various complications. Drs Watson and Gershon, along with their 33 well-respected coauthors provide up-to-date knowledge about every aspect of VZV, herpes zoster, and postherpetic neuralgia. The book, divided into 24 chapters, aims to provide a source for current data for caregivers as well as for clinical and basic scientists. Since the first edition in 1993, advances in molecular biology and immunology have provided insights into basic biology of VZV, and new antiviral agents and a live attenuated vaccine for VZV have been approved. In addition, new and stimulating concepts about the pathophysiology of pain in general and especially postherpetic neuralgia have been developed. The accumulated knowledge from the last decade of basic science and clinical research is discussed chapterwise by experts in their fields. An expanded section deals with postherpetic neuralgia, the most important practical clinical issue; many useful therapeutic approaches, both new and well established (eg, use of nerve blocks and surgery) are presented. The chapters are reader friendly, written in a consistent format. Various tables summarizing study trials and treatment options facilitate the use of this text as a quick reference. Practicing dermatologists should be aware that dermatological aspects are secondary to postherpetic neuralgia and chronic pain in general.