Disseminated zoster in an adult patient with extensive burns
Shingles (localized zoster) and disseminated zoster are caused by the reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus (VZV). Reactivation of VZV is related to impaired cell-mediated immunity. Extensive burns affecting a patient result in burn-related immunosuppression and cytokine storm. Despite immunosuppression in burn patients, the reactivation of VZV is extremely rare, whereas eczema herpeticum, caused by reactivation of latent herpes simplex virus (HSV), is common. We have found only 1 published case of VZV reactivation during burn treatment in the literature.

A 51-year-old man was burned in a fire, which affected 60% of his total body surface area (TBSA), and also received inhalation injury (day 0). Despite fluid resuscitation, he showed persistent renal failure. Continuous hemodialysis and filtration (CHDF) combined with polymyxin B-immobilized fiber column direct hemoperfusion (PMX-DHP) therapy was used for cytokine modulation. Autologous and allogeneic skin grafting was performed. On day 15, multiple-drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MDRP) was detected from a blood specimen, and the patient developed multiple organ failure (MOF).

On day 31, compact aggregations of small vesicles appeared on the intact skin of his left knee and left buttock. The vesicles were located within the 4th lumbar (L4) spinal dermatome. From day 32 to day 34, similar new vesicles arose on his intact skin and epithelializing skin-graft donor sites. We diagnosed disseminated zoster, based on the patient’s age, the characteristic occurrence of the initial vesicles within a limited area of intact skin in the left L4 dermatome, and a positive Tzank smear. Serologic testing on day 36 showed a high level of anti-VZV immunoglobulin (Ig)G with low levels of anti-VZV IgM, anti-HSV IgG, and anti-HSV IgM. The patient was isolated in a negative-pressure room to avoid air-borne spread of VZV. On day 52, the patient died.

Source: Virology Journal 2019 16:68

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