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Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) ; 11(4): 1119-1126, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1230303


Herpes zoster (HZ) is associated with substantial morbidity. It is caused by reactivation of the latent varicella zoster virus (VZV) following decline in cell-mediated immunity, which is commonly age-related, but also occurs in individuals with immunosuppressive diseases and/or treatment. Since coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, has been associated with T cell immune dysfunction and there have been reports of HZ in COVID-19 patients, we have performed a review of available literature on whether COVID-19 could trigger HZ. We identified 27 cases of HZ following COVID-19, which most frequently occurred within 1-2 weeks of COVID-19, and the majority of cases had typical presentation. Atypical presentations of HZ were noted especially in patients with lymphopenia. It has been hypothesized that VZV reactivation occurs as a consequence of T cell dysfunction (including lymphopenia and lymphocyte exhaustion) in COVID-19 patients. Based on current evidence, which is limited to case reports and case series, it is not possible to determine whether COVID-19 increases the risk of HZ. Practitioners should be aware of the possible increased risk of HZ during the pandemic period and consider timely therapeutic and preventive measures against it.

Eur J Neurol ; 27(9): 1748-1750, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-361390


BACKGROUND: Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a human neurotropic virus that remains in a latent state within ganglionic neurons throughout the entire neuroaxis after the primary infection. When herpes zoster (HZ) leads to trigeminal involvement, the ophthalmic division is the most implicated. COVID-19 has emerged as a viral cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome that has spread all over the world in the last months. Co-infection with COVID-19 and other viruses has been reported, but sparsely, and involving the respiratory viruses. METHODS: The case of a co-infection of COVID-19 with VZV is reported, and the literature reviewed. RESULTS: A 39-year-old immunocompetent man presented with oligosymptomatic infection with COVID-19, which evolved to left facial HZ, affecting the three divisions of the trigeminal nerve. The co-infection was remotely registered, being the respiratory viruses, especially influenza, the most commonly cited association. However, the present case illustrates the emergence of a latent virus infection, which might be favored by the inflammatory response to the former agent (COVID-19). This reaction ascended from the nasal cavity, where trigeminal branches are also placed. CONCLUSIONS: The emergence of latent VZV infection in this rare presentation might illustrate an effect, at least locally, of COVID-19. This virus possibly induced a retrograde reactivation of VZV in a young immunocompetent patient.

COVID-19/complications , Herpes Zoster/complications , Trigeminal Nerve Diseases/etiology , Adult , Coinfection , Humans , Male