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J Clin Virol. 2003 Jul;27(2):190-9.

Molecular diagnosis of zoster post varicella vaccination.

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  • 1Institute of Virology and Antiviral Therapy, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Winzerlaer Strasse 10, D-07745, Jena, Germany.



Herpes zoster can be caused by endogenous reactivation of both wild-type virus or vaccine varicella-zoster virus (VZV) becoming latent within sensory ganglia after natural primary infection or varicella vaccination.


To demonstrate molecular biological methods for reliable discrimination between wild-type VZV and vaccine strain Oka by an example of zoster in a vaccinated girl.


VZV was isolated from zoster occurring 16 months after varicella vaccination in a 2-year-old infant. Including VZV wild-type and different Oka strains as controls, viral DNA fragments located in the open reading frames (ORF) 38, 54, 62 and the R5 variable repeat region were characterized by amplification and restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) analysis.


VZV vaccine strain Oka was definitely proven to be the causative virus in this case of zoster post vaccination.


Molecular procedures for characterization of ORF 38 allow reliable discrimination between Oka-like and wild-type VZV outside Japan and Japanese communities. To distinguish Oka vaccine virus from Oka-like wild strains, analysis of DNA fragments located in the ORF 62 should be included.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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