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Am J Transl Res



Meningitis/meningoencephalitis caused by varicella zoster virus reactivation: a retrospective single-center case series study.


Yan Y, Yuan Y, Wang J, Zhang Y, Liu H, Zhang Z
Am J Transl Res. 2022; 14(1):491-500.
PMID: 35173869.


Recent clinical studies showed that central nervous system (CNS) infection caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV) reactivation was more than previously reported. The clinical manifestations were often diverse and complex, and the outcome often varied among different patients. A systematic study is needed to provide clinical characteristics of the CNS VZV infection to help clinicians with clinical diagnosis and management. Toward that end, we retrospectively analyzed the clinical presentations, laboratory results, imaging findings, treatment and outcomes in74 patients with meningitis or meningoencephalitis caused by VZV reactivation in our center from August 2018 to December 2020. Fever, headache, cranial nerve involvement, cognitive changes, meningeal irritation, nausea, vomiting, and Ramsay-Hunt syndrome (RHS) were the most common clinical manifestations of VZV meningitis or meningoencephalitis. Brain MRI analysis showed no obvious abnormal manifestation. Compared to VZV meningoencephalitis, patients with VZV meningitis were younger (56.9±13.8 vs 66.1±8.5 years; P=0.01), and more likely to develope in winter (P=0.04), had lower cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glucose content (3.68±0.79 vs 4.21±0.94 mmol/L, P=0.02), and a better outcome at discharge (P=0.00). The outcome at discharge was worse in male patients and when longer than 1.5 days passed between onset of the neurological symptoms to initiation of the antiviral treatment.Early intravenous antiviral treatment for VZV meningitis and meningoencephalitis is important and is expected for a good outcome.