After developing a small itchy rash on my back, I went to see my GP who immediately said it was shingles. I thought it was unusual that I would get shingles, as I am only 33 yrs old and I thought that shingles mainly occured in older people. I guess this is the same virus that causes chicken pox and there are higher rates of infection with MS patients. I picked this article off of the Reutershealth webpage.
Infectious Agents Under Suspicion. Although many infectious microorganisms have been investigated, no one agent has emerged as a proven trigger. It is possible different MS patients may be affected by different organisms, and that infections cause some, ,but not all, cases of MS. Organisms that are at the top of suspect list are those that can affect the central nervous system. The following are two primary suspects:
Herpesviruses. HHV-6, a form of herpesvirus that causes roseola, a benign disease in children, is also known to cause encephalitis (brain inflammation) in patients with impaired immune systems. A number of studies have reported higher than normal rates of HHV-6 infection in MS patients and some experts believe that may be important in MS. Other experts argue, however, that nearly everyone harbors this virus and there is still no evidence of a causal relationship. Other herpesviruses can also infect brain cells. They include herpes simplex 1 and 2 (the causes of oral and genital herpes), varicella-zoster virus (the cause of chicken pox and shingles), and cytomegalovirus.
Chlamydia Pneumoniae. Chlamydia pneumoniae, an atypical bacterium that has been associated with persistent inflammation in small vessels. A few studies have reported significantly higher rates of previous Chlamydia infection in MS patients than in individuals without MS. An important group of 2000 studies, however, reported no connection at all between Chlamydia and MS. Some investigators suggest that different laboratory standards in identifying the organism have produced varying results. Many experts now believe there is no strong evidence linking the microbe to MS.