Neurologic manifestations of varicella herpes zoster infection

J. de Otero, J. M. Suriñach, E. Ribera, J. Alegre, C. Juste, J. Río

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2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The aim of the present study was to analyze the clinical characteristics and fluid alterations in neurologic infection by varicella herpes zoster virus in hospitalized patients. METHODS: A retrospective study of the cases with neurologic involvement by the varicella herpes zoster virus in patients admitted in the authors' hospital from March 1991 to March 1993 was carried out. RESULTS: Our of the 14 patients studied with neurologic involvement by the varicella herpes zoster virus, 10 were males (71%) with a mean age of 38 years (range: 13-83 years). Only 4 patients (28%) presented a base disease (diabetes mellitus in 2 cases and HIV infection in another 2). In 10 cases (71%) the appearance of cutaneous lesions was prior to neurologic manifestations (between 1 and 30 days before neurologic clinical manifestations). All the patients presented hyperthermia at some time. The most common symptoms were: headache, vomiting, confusion and/or neck stiffness, with meningitis, encephalitis and neurologic foci and mixed pictures. In 4 cases (28%) the cephalorhachidian fluid did not present analytical changes suggestive of viral meningitis. All the patients underwent i.v. acyclovir treatment at a dosis of 10-15 mg/kg/8 h with good evolution, with no deaths being observed. In 3 out of the 6 cases presenting neurologic foci the evolution was slow with sequelae following treatment completion. CONCLUSIONS: Neurologic involvement by the varicella herpes zoster virus does not clinically defer from other neutrotropic virus. Fluid alterations were compatible with benign lymphocytary meningitis although some cases of encephalitis showed normal LCR. Taking into account that none of the patients herein reported died and considering the mortality associated with meningitis or encephalitis by varicella herpes zoster referred in the literature in untreated patients, the authors believe that the use of acyclovir is obligatory in these cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-11
JournalEnfermedades infecciosas y microbiología clínica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


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