March 31, 2003 10:00 AM

David Letterman, who has been waylaid by a case of shingles that forced him to abandon his “Late Show” desk on Feb. 25, is finally expected to resume his duties Monday and will remain around the entire week, CBS has announced.

Letterman, 55, complained to his late-night audience before taking sick leave about the visible inflammation of his right eye. The condition turned out to have been a symptom of shingles, a viral infection related to chickenpox, Reuters reports.

Besides the visible affliction to the victim, shingles can also be highly painful.

Initially, guest hosts such as Bruce Willis, John McEnroe and Regis Philbin filled in. College basketball coverage and “Late Show” reruns filled in the gaps during Letterman’s absence.

The lengthy absence was the first since Letterman’s break three years ago to undergo open-heart surgery. Ratings during this recent episode have been mixed, says Reuters.

Monday’s guest list includes Billy Crystal and 18-year-old world whistling champion Michael Barimo.

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