Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 648–649

Live, Attenuated Varicella Zoster Vaccination of an Immunocompromised Patient

  • Kelly K. Curtis
  • Megan K. Connolly
  • Donald W. Northfelt
Case Report/Clinical Vignettes

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-008-0558-4

Cite this article as:
Curtis, K.K., Connolly, M.K. & Northfelt, D.W. J GEN INTERN MED (2008) 23: 648. doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0558-4

Abstract

A vaccine for the prevention of herpes zoster outbreaks in adults over the age of 60 years has recently been approved. A 76-year-old white female with a history of recurrent left axillary breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy was given a Zostavax® injection by her primary care physician. Eight days later, the patient developed a rash. Given the recent administration of live, attenuated varicella zoster virus (VZV), a diagnosis of disseminated cutaneous herpes zoster was made. The patient was treated successfully with a course of famciclovir for 10 days and cephalexin for 7 days for a secondary bacterial infection. A review of the medical literature disclosed no reports of Zostavax® given to adult cancer patients immunocompromised by systemic chemotherapy. Therefore, we believe this report is the first to describe the consequences of Zostavax® administration to such a host. Clinicians should take care to review contraindications and precautions prior to administering the Zostavax® vaccine.

KEY WORDS

varicella zoster vaccinationadverse reactionsimmunocompromised patient

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly K. Curtis
    • 1
  • Megan K. Connolly
    • 1
  • Donald W. Northfelt
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Hematology/OncologyMayo ClinicScottsdaleUSA