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Am J Ophthalmol. 1992 Dec 15;114(6):680-4.

Ocular involvement in an outbreak of herpes gladiatorum.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic, Minneapolis.


An epidemic of herpes simplex virus type 1 occurred in 60 of 175 wrestlers (34%) attending a four-week intensive training camp. Five of these 60 patients (8%) developed ocular involvement that included follicular conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and phlyctenular disease. Cultures of the conjunctiva and eyelid vesicles were positive for herpes simplex virus type 1 in four of the five patients with ocular disease. The viral isolates were compared by restriction-endonuclease analysis, which disclosed that three of the four isolates were the same strain. None of the patients had corneal involvement and there has been no evidence of viral recurrence to date. Herpes simplex virus type 1 is a health risk for wrestlers, and ocular infections are part of the clinical spectrum. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate management of the outbreak may reduce the severity of the outbreak transmission.

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