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February 28, 1977

Herpesvirus Infection

JAMA. 1977;237(9):871-872. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270360033008

To the Editor.—  Since there is little published detailed information on the natural history of many viral infections in untreated patients and there is also a tendency by clinical investigators to overinterpret normal recovery in treated patients, the focus for evaluation of antivirals is turning to controlled trials for evaluation.1In a preliminary clinical study of 65 cases (70% herpes zoster [HZ] and 30% herpes simplex [HS]), we have measured quantitatively the relationship between viral infection and blood nucleotide levels. Blood samples were taken within one week of illness in 30 cases of HZ and within 8 to 14 days in 15 cases. One half of the sampled patients with primary HS failed to give a history of prior infection, but no neutralizing antibody or skin tests were done. The remainder had clinically recurrent disease. With both clinical conditions, blood was taken when the vesicles were erupting or within