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April 1984

Systemic Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection: Proctitis, Urinary Retention, Arthralgias, and Meningitis in the Absence of Primary Mucocutaneous Lesions

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington (Drs White and Hanna); and the Viral Exanthems and Herpes Virus Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta (Dr Stewart).

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(4):826-827. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350160192032

• A 24-year-old heterosexual man had severe proctalgia associated with nonspecific proctitis. Within a few days, perineal and lower extremity paresthesias, intermittent urinary retention, inguinal lymphadenopathy, lower extremity arthralgias, and aseptic meningitis developed. Serologic studies demonstrated a fourfold rise in convalescent antibody titer to herpes simplex virus (HSV) consistent with an initial type 2 infection. Six months later, HSV type 2 was isolated from perianal vesicles, which we believe was the first cutaneous manifestation of a recurrence. This unusual syndrome, presumably the result of HSV ganglionitis, could be confused with other disorders that include multiple sclerosis, lumbar disk disease with radiculopathy, rheumatologic disease, and psychogenic illness. In the absence of typical herpetic mucocutaneous vesicles, serologic studies may be useful in the diagnosis of a systemic herpes simplex infection.

(Arch Intern Med 1984;144:826-827)