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September 1965

Herpes Zoster House Epidemic in Steroid-Treated Patients: A Clinical and Viral Study

Author Affiliations


From the Isotopic Department and Metabolic Unit and the Department of Medicine, János Hospital, Budapest (Assistant Chief of Medicine: Dr. Radó); and the Institute of Microbiology, University Medical School, Debrecen, Hungary.

Arch Intern Med. 1965;116(3):329-335. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03870030009003

Bókay 1 was the first, three quarters of a century ago, to claim purely on clinical grounds that varicella and herpes zoster were caused apparently by the same agent. Since then, this view has been corroborated by many clinical observations,2-5 epidemiological data,6 and viral research results.7-14 There are, however, still many aspects of the correlation between the two conditions that are unclarified.6 More recently significant changes have been noted in the clinical symptoms and in the epidemiology of varicella, and especially of herpes zoster, in patients treated with corticosteroids.2,15-17 We have been unable, however, to find in the literature available to us, data for virus isolation and identification, as well as antibody studies in local and generalized herpes zoster developing during corticosteroid treatment.

The aims of this paper are: (1) to describe a house epidemic of herpes zoster starting from one case of shingles; (2) to present the results of