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A spell of chicken-pox on a cancer patients' ward

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Second episodes of varicella after a definite primary exposure to chicken-pox are well known in immunosuppressed children. We report an outbreak in adult cancer patients. This observation suggests that there is also a higher risk of varicella infection in immunosuppressed adults. As there is a trend for a pronounced severity of chicken-pox in patients receiving anticancer drugs or suffering from immunosuppressive diseases, the prophylactic use of varicella zoster immune globulin in adult patients has to be discussed, especially as positive experiences with children were recently gained. Following manifestation, therapy with systemic aciclovir seems to be effective.

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Eckstein, R., Loy, A. & Jehn, U. A spell of chicken-pox on a cancer patients' ward. Klin Wochenschr 62, 387–389 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01742293

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Key words

  • Chicken-pox
  • Oncology
  • Chemotherapy
  • Zoster immune globulin
  • Aciclovir