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March 16, 1970

Hospital-Acquired Herpes Zoster Following Exposure to Chickenpox

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, and the Department of Pathology, Passavant Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Medical Center, Chicago.

JAMA. 1970;211(11):1831-1833. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170110037007

The opportunity for transmission of varicella-zoster (VZ) virus between patients with herpes zoster or chickenpox infections occurred. The VZ virus was introduced into the hospital environment via a retired nurse who was admitted with zoster. Chickenpox developed in the intern attending her 16 days after his initial contact with the patient. One day before the onset of his rash, the intern had close contact with a patient who had been receiving immunosuppressive therapy for a kidney transplant. Typical herpes zoster developed in this patient after an appropriate incubation period. The clinical diagnosis of VZ virus infection was documented in each case by virus isolation and serologic studies or both. The chain of infection involving these temporally related cases presents strong justification for considering some cases of zoster to be exogenous infections.