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December 1976

Herpes Zoster: Case Report of Possible Accidental Inoculation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(12):1755-1756. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630370043010

• A 30-year-old healthy male physician developed grouped, papulovesicular lesions along the dermatomes of T1 and T2 of the left side of his body. The onset occurred two days after he accidentally pricked his right index finger with a needle that had been used to aspirate the acute papulovesicular lesions of a patient with severe herpes zoster. The clinical appearance and dermatomal distribution, the subsequent clinical course, the skin biopsy findings, and the substantial increase in complement-fixing antibody titer to the varicella-zoster (V-Z) virus in the convalescent serum samples are strong evidence for herpes zoster. Although it is generally believed that person-to-person transmission of zoster is rare and that herpes zoster results from the reactivation of a latent varicella virus, the present case suggests that zoster can be acquired from exogenous infection with a V-Z virus, at least in certain circumstances.

(Arch Dermatol 112:1755-1756, 1976)

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