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Detection of Herpesvirus DNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Correlation with Clinical Symptoms

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Novel PCR techniques can detect minute quantities of herpesvirus DNA in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The clinical significance of such findings is not always clear.

Patients and Methods:

(a) Investigation of clinical characteristics of 76 patients with herpesvirus DNA detection in CSF. (b) Screening for herpesvirus DNA in CSF samples of 208 patients without clinical signs of herpesvirus infection.


(a) Eleven of 76 herpesvirus-DNA-positive patients did not show symptoms usually associated with the detected virus (HSV-1/2, n = 5; EBV, n = 6). (b) Two of 208 patients without hint for herpesvirus infection had HHV-6 DNA of low concentration in CSF.


The detection of low-level herpesvirus replication in CSF by highly sensitive PCR assays requires critical evaluation.

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Correspondence to A. Plentz.

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Plentz, A., Jilg, W., Kochanowski, B. et al. Detection of Herpesvirus DNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Correlation with Clinical Symptoms. Infection 36, 158–162 (2008).

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