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December 1969

Varicella-Zoster Encephalomyelitis: A Morphologic and Virologic Study

Author Affiliations

Iowa City
From the departments of pathology (neuropathology) (Drs. McCormick and Schochet), neurology (Dr. Rodnitzky), and microbiology (Dr. McKee), University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City.

Arch Neurol. 1969;21(6):559-570. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480180015001

VARICELLA-ZOSTER (V-Z) encephalomyelitis is relatively uncommon. Detailed morphologic and virologic studies on such cases are extremely few. Our recent studies of two patients on whom complete autopsies were done, form the basis of this study. In one of these patients V-Z virus was cultured from the brain. Electron microscopic demonstration of virus particles in the brain was obtained on both cases. We believe this to be the first reported isolation of the V-Z virus and the first electron microscopic demonstration of the virus in human brain. Type A intranuclear inclusion bodies were seen in the brain and spinal cord of both patients. We are aware of no recorded observations of type A inclusions in the central nervous system (CNS) in patients with clinical herpes zoster and only one such report in a case of disseminated varicella. The literature, insofar as it is pertinent, is reviewed and a synthesis

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