Varicella zoster virus (VZV), a human alphaherpesvirus, causes varicella and subsequently estab-lishes latency within sensory nerve ganglia. Later in life VZV can reactivate to cause herpes zoster. A reduced frequency of VZV-specific T cells is strongly associated with herpes zoster illustrating that these immune cells are central to control latency. Dendritic cells (DCs) are required for the generation of VZV-specific T cells. However, DCs can also be infected in vitro and in vivo allowing VZV to evade the antiviral immune response. Thus, DCs represent the immune systems’ Achilles heel. Uniquely among the human herpesviruses, VZV infects both DCs and T cells, and exploits both as Trojan horses. During primary infection VZV-infected DCs traffic to the draining lymph nodes and tonsils, where the virus is transferred to T cells. VZV-infected T cells subsequently spread infection throughout the body to give the typical varicella skin rash. The delicate interplay between VZV and DCs and its consequences for viral immune evasion and viral dissemination will be discussed in this article
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