This is a picture of herpes zoster (shingles) on the chest. Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Outbreaks of shingles often follow the distribution of nerves in the skin. This distribution pattern is called a dermatome (see the "dermatomes" picture). The linear distribution of the nerve in the skin is very easily seen in this photograph.
Review Date: 5/30/2012 Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.