Herpes zoster can be a very uncomfortable disease for the patient and a frustrating problem for the physician. Usually, however, the discomfort is short-lived. Neuralgia or facial zoster may prolong the course. Encephalitis occurs in a small percentage of cases, but death is a rare result of the disease. In the August issue of the Archives of Neurology Rose and associates have reported the case of a patient who died from zoster encephalomyelitis. Review of the literature showed only eight autopsied cases previously reported. This patient, a 51-year-old man, experienced a sudden onset of numbness in one leg five days after the appearance of a typical herpes zoster rash on the trunk. During the next five days the numbness spread to the lower trunk and both legs. Flaccid paralysis of the legs followed.
Ten days after the rash appeared, the patient was admitted to a hospital. At that time signs
ZOSTER ENCEPHALOMYELITIS. JAMA. 1964;189(7):575-576. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070070047014