Varicella zoster virus (VZV)-DNA was quantified in peripheral blood of 2 patients with visceral varicella due to endogenous reactivation. An 18-year-old male contracted varicella following the courses of chemotherapy for T cell lymphoma. Another 18-year-old male suffered from varicella 16 months after the complete engraftment of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Both patients had past VZV infection, but no recent contact with the disease. Paralytic ileus and ascites preceded the skin lesions. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed > 200 copies of VZV per 1 ml of whole blood before or at the time when cropping vesicles emerged. The viral load reflected their prolonged clinical courses. Similar levels of VZV-DNA were detected in primary varicella patients, but not in herpes zoster patients or immunocompromised children without varicella or zoster. Quantitative monitoring of circulating VZV-DNA may be useful for the diagnosis and assessing the treatment response of visceral varicella in immunocompromized hosts.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes