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March 29, 1976

Vidarabine Therapy for Severe Herpesvirus Infections: An Unusual Syndrome of Chronic Varicella and Transient Immunologic Deficiency

Author Affiliations

From the departments of medicine (Drs Aronson, Gump, Albertini, and C. A. Phillips) and pediatrics (Dr C. F. Phillips), the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington.

JAMA. 1976;235(13):1339-1342. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260390025020

Six patients with severe herpesvirus infections were successfully treated with vidarabine. One patient had a previously undescribed syndrome of chronic cutaneous varicella infection of eight months' duration, associated with transient but complete suppression of lymphocyte response to conconavalin A. Other diagnoses were severe varicella pneumonia, progressive cytomegalovirus pneumonia associated with acute lymphocytic leukemia, herpes simplex encephalitis, severe zoster associated with stage IV lymphoma, and disseminated herpes simplex in a patient receiving high doses of steroids. All patients showed cessation of new lesions or abrupt clinical improvement between days 2 and 4 after initiation of therapy, and all were cured of their clinical infection. Dramatic improvement in all of our patients and the minimal toxicity observed make vidarabine suitable for use in severe herpesvirus infections.

(JAMA 235:1339-1342, 1976)