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December 1961

Reactions of Autoinoculation for Recurrent Herpes Simplex

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology of the College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati.

Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(6):1025-1026. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580180141022

One of the techniques used to attempt to prevent recurrent herpes simplex is autoinoculation. In this technique, fluid from a fresh herpetic vesicle is aspirated, then inoculated by scratching, scarification, and even occasionally by intradermal injection into another area of the body. Some of the reactions which we have observed from the use of this technique have been secondary infection of varying intensity of the inoculated area and the initiation of another focus of the recurrent herpes simplex. There is another type of reaction which we have not seen and which has been considered by the virologists—the development of herpetic encephalitis by a neurotropic virus. Such a possible reaction was considered when we had suggested autoinoculation as a therapy for recurrent herpetic keratitis. On animal inoculation, this virus was found to be neurotropic.

An excellent example of autoinoculation is as follows. A Navy officer was seen in 1953, at age

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