Feature Article — The Stages of Viral Infection: How HPV and Shingles Play the Long Game

Published on in Parents PACK

Viruses are unique in that they don’t have the tools necessary to reproduce themselves. As a result, they always need to hijack a cell’s machinery. Different viruses rely on different types of cells to do this. But for the most part, when a virus enters a cell and takes over its machinery, the steps to reproducing itself are similar regardless of the virus or the type of cell it infects. You can watch these two short animations to see how a virus attaches to and reproduces in cells.

While viruses reproduce similarly, the infections they cause in people take different forms based on how the new viruses behave and our immune response to them. Watch this video to learn about the different types of viral infections and find out how some viruses like herpes zoster (chickenpox and shingles) and human papillomavirus (HPV) can remain in a host for years after the first contact.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.