Unique changes occur in epithelial cells infected with herpes simplex, herpes zoster, and varicella. Although characteristic epithelial cell forms have been observed in these diseases for many years,1 only recently has their diagnostic value been emphasized.2
The diagnostic microscopic findings in herpes simplex, herpes zoster, and varicella are seen in ordinary hematoxylin and eosin stained sections. Within this group of diseases, the changes are identical but are unlike those found in other vesicular diseases of the skin. Current studies have demonstrated that epithelial cells infected with one of these viruses undergo a series of morphologic and tinctorial transformations.3 All cells are not simultaneously infected; as a result, various stages of this cellular change and accumulation of inclusion material are seen in any single specimen.
In the past, the small, eosinophilic, intranuclear inclusion body of Lipschütz has received the most attention. This probably represents one of the last
Blank H, Burgoon CF, Baldridge GD, McCarthy PL, Urbach F. CYTOLOGIC SMEARS IN DIAGNOSIS OF HERPES SIMPLEX, HERPES ZOSTER, AND VARICELLA. JAMA. 1951;146(15):1410–1412. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.63670150005012b