Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 430–434

Neurologic manifestations of varicella zoster virus infections


DOI: 10.1007/s11910-009-0064-z

Cite this article as:
Amlie-Lefond, C. & Jubelt, B. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep (2009) 9: 430. doi:10.1007/s11910-009-0064-z


Varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes acute viral exanthema in childhood, becomes latent, and can reactivate years later to produce neurologic disease. Primary VZV infection is associated with acute cerebellitis and stroke, particularly in childhood. VZV reactivation may result in neuropathy, myelitis, stroke, and encephalitis, the latter two syndromes the result of small and large vessel vasculopathy. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize morbidity in herpes zoster as well as morbidity and death in VZV vasculitis and encephalitis. Detection of anti-VZV antibodies in cerebrospinal fluid is the most sensitive method of diagnosing varicella infection of the nervous system. Despite the advent of the VZV vaccine, varicella remains a significant cause of neurologic morbidity.

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© Current Medicine Group, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyMedical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA