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Myelitis Due to Varicella-Zoster Virus in Two Patients with AIDS: Successful Treatment with Acyclovir

François Lionnet, Marc Pulik, Philippe Genet, Charlotte Petitdidier, Patrick Davous, Pierre Lebon and Flore Rozenberg
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Vol. 22, No. 1 (Jan., 1996), pp. 138-140
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4459179
Page Count: 3
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Abstract

Only a few cases of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) myelitis have been described, and nearly all have been diagnosed post-mortem. There have been no reports in the literature of successful treatment of VZV myelitis with antiviral medications. We report on two patients with AIDS who had acute severe myelitis accompanied by herpes zoster. The presence of VZV DNA in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was documented by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. Early treatment with acyclovir was followed by a slow but complete recovery after a phase of initial aggravation. After a follow-up of >1 year, the two patients remained asymptomatic. We conclude that (1) VZV should be considered a curable cause of myelitis in patients with AIDS, (2) PCR assay of CSF will assist in early diagnosis, and (3) early treatment with acyclovir should aid in recovery.

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