JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Herpes zoster ophthalmicus following bone marrow transplantation in children.

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection is a frequent complication following bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Involvement of the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve, herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), can result in significant and potentially vision-threatening ocular complications. We report the frequency and characteristics of HZO following BMT, including the timing of infection, treatment, ocular complications, and visual outcome. Between 1983 and 1997, 572 patients underwent BMT and seven children developed HZO at a median of 150 days following transplantation. All but one of the children had undergone allogeneic BMT. All of the children were treated with acyclovir after onset of the rash but none had received prophylactic therapy. All seven children developed ocular complications within the first 4 weeks following the onset of the dermatomal rash but none reported any symptoms during this period. Complications included keratitis in six, anterior uveitis in three and scleritis in one. Keratitis was an early complication developing within the first 4 weeks, while anterior uveitis and scleritis occurred later in the course of the disease. The high frequency of ocular complications and lack of symptoms in children with HZO following BMT suggests that early ophthalmologic evaluation is warranted in this group of patients. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of ocular complications is essential in the prevention of acute and long-term ocular sequelae in these children.

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