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Clinical characteristics of acute HSV-2 retinal necrosis.

PURPOSE: To report the clinical features and evaluate the visual outcome of eleven cases of herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) related acute retinal necrosis syndrome (ARN).

DESIGN: Retrospective interventional case series.

METHODS: Twelve eyes of eleven patients from two European centers, diagnosed with HSV-2 related acute retinal necrosis syndrome were retrospectively reviewed. Herpes simplex virus-2 DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction in intraocular fluids (aqueous and/or vitreous). Findings at initial examination, clinical evolution with antiviral therapy, complications and final visual acuity were evaluated.

RESULTS: Herpes simplex virus-2 DNA was detected in all cases. No sample was positive for more than one virus. The mean age of disease in the first eye was 36 years (ranged from 10 to 57 years). Five patients were women and six were men. All patients were immunocompetent. Previous medical history included neonatal herpes (n = 1), previous ARN (n = 3), trauma (n = 1) and systemic corticosteroid administration before occurrence of ARN (n = 3). Preexisting pigmented chorioretinal scars were found in three cases. Patients were treated with high dose intravenous acyclovir or foscarnet +/- intravitreal ganciclovir +/- interferon. The mean follow-up was 14.5 months (from 5 to 22 months). At the end of the follow-up period, five eyes (41.7%) showed improvement of visual acuity of two or more lines. Final visual acuity was 20/60 or better in four eyes (33.3%), 20/400 or better in four eyes (33.3%) and less than 20/400 in four eyes.

CONCLUSION: History of neonatal herpes, triggering events such as neurosurgery, periocular trauma, high-dose corticosteroids, and chorioretinal scars suggest that HSV-2 retinitis reflects reactivation of HSV-2 infection.

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