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For many years it has been known that the presence of arsenic in the body is one of the causes of herpes zoster. The so-called Manchester epidemic of 1900 is an example of this.
Herpes zoster was observed in 13 of 1,181 syphilitic patients who were treated at the Los Angeles City Venereal Clinic during 1938. Sixteen patients were treated with neoarsphenamine and bismuth subsalicylate in weekly doses, and 2 were treated with bismuth subsalicylate only. in 2 cases the eruption was distributed over the cervical region, and in 4 it was located on the lower part of the body and extended down the legs. In the others it was located on the chest. In no case was the distribution bilateral. Varicella was not observed in any case. In 7 cases pain was recorded, but in no case did it last more than a month. No constitutional treatment was given
Bancroft I. HERPES ZOSTER OCCURRING DURING TREATMENT FOR SYPHILIS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1940;41(5):929. doi:10.1001/archderm.1940.01490110115016
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