Herpes Zoster in Healthy Infants and Toddlers after Perinatal Exposure To Varicella-Zoster Virus: A Case Series and Review of the Literature

Xavier Rodríguez-Fanjul, MD; Antoni Noguera, MD, PhD; Asunción Vicente, MD; Maria Antònia González-Enseñat, MD; Rafael Jiménez, MD, PhD; Clàudia Fortuny, MD, PhD*


Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010;29(6):574-576. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Exposure to varicella-zoster virus in utero or during the first months of life is the main risk factor for the development of herpes zoster (HZ) in healthy children. We report a case series of 16 infants and toddlers who presented with HZ after early exposure to varicella-zoster virus. Two patients had recurrences. Despite the severity of the rash in some cases, the benign course and the long-term good prognosis of HZ in healthy children is noteworthy.


Herpes zoster (HZ), also named shingles, is caused by the reactivation of latent varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection within dorsal root and cranial nerve ganglia. While chickenpox usually occurs in the first years of life, HZ is uncommon in childhood and its incidence increases with age and with other causes of decreased cellular immunity.[1] Children infected with VZV in utero or before one year of age have an increased risk of developing HZ.[2,3] We report a case series of 16 previously healthy children who developed HZ after exposure to VZV during gestation or early infancy and who were referred to and followed up in a tertiary-care pediatric hospital in Barcelona (Spain) from 1993 to 2008.


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