Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone is not expected to attend public events or work from his office at City Hall for the next few weeks due to a severe case of the shingles virus.
Mayor Curtatone was recently hospitalized with the shingles virus, which is the same as the virus that causes chickenpox. The illness, which nearly one-third of adults experience in their lifetime, is not life-threatening though it can be quite painful, and in rare cases, the inner ear and facial nerves are affected, as is the case with Mayor Curtatone.
Mayor Curtatone remains in touch with staff and should be able to more fully resume work remotely in the coming days. Though he is no longer contagious, due to the impact on his inner ear, which controls balance, it is expected that Mayor Curtatone’s usually busy schedule could be impacted for several weeks. Of course, should his recovery go more quickly, he will return to his full schedule sooner.
When he does return to public duties, he will likely be sporting an eye patch to protect his affected eye. Once he is back to work onsite, it is expected that his progress toward a full recovery will likely span the coming months.
He sends his regrets regarding a number of upcoming events that he will likely not be able to attend including the historic official launch of the City’s climate action plan Somerville Climate Forward on Wednesday, Nov. 28. His wife Nancy Curtatone will share a message from the Mayor on his behalf at the event.
Shingles is the result of a reactivation of the dormant chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster), which remains in the body after earlier or childhood cases of chickenpox. Chickenpox used to be very common, but a vaccine has been licensed in the United States since 1995, and a shingles vaccine was approved in the U.S. in 2006.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Children ages 1 through 12 years can get the MMRV vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that protects against chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella. Your child’s doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for your child.”
The CDC also recommends the Shingrix shingles vaccine for adults age 50 and older.