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The shingles virus was initially underestimated in terms of the severity of its effects, but the disease is widely understood now. Steps that are presently under way to cure the disease include the development of new vaccines.
Shingles has existed since the Middle Ages. However, the disease was often confused with smallpox, as that was one of the prevalent diseases at that time.
In the mid-1700s, a scientist named William Herberden discovered how to differentiate between shingles and smallpox. But the cause of the disease was not determined until a century later.
The origin of shingles was first discussed in 1831, when a scientist named Richard Bright stated that he believed the disease was carried by the dorsal root ganglion, or the spinal ganglion.
Shingles was thought to be a fairly painless and harmless virus until the 1950s, when the medical community first recognized the severity of the symptoms of shingles.
In 2005, an experimental drug named Zostavax was developed to combat shingles. Although it is too early to tell, the drug is believed to be generally beneficial and was approved by the FDA in 2006.