Herpes Zoster in Childhood


Herpes zoster is caused by reactivation of latent varicella-zoster virus that resides in a dorsal root ganglion. Herpes zoster can develop at any time after a primary infection or varicella vaccination. The incidence among children is approximately 110 per 100,000 person-years. Clinically, herpes zoster is characterized by a painful, unilateral vesicular eruption in a restricted dermatomal distribution. In young children, herpes zoster has a predilection for areas supplied by the cervical and sacral dermatomes. Herpes zoster tends to be milder in children than that in adults. Also, vaccine-associated herpes zoster is milder than herpes zoster after wild-type varicella. The diagnosis of herpes zoster is mainly made clinically, based on a distinct clinical appearance. The most common complications are secondary bacterial infection, depigmentation, and scarring. Chickenpox may develop in susceptible individuals exposed to herpes zoster. Oral acyclovir should be considered for uncomplicated herpes zoster in immunocompetent children. Intravenous acyclovir is the treatment of choice for immunocompromised children who are at risk for disseminated disease. The medication should be administered ideally within 72 hours of rash onset.

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Leung, A. and Barankin, B. (2015) Herpes Zoster in Childhood. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 5, 39-44. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2015.51008.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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