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Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2008 Apr-May;25(3):237-42. doi: 10.1080/08880010801938215.

Fatal visceral varicella-zoster virus infection without skin involvement in a child with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Department of Pediatrics, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


A 5-year-old girl with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in remission suffered from fatal visceral varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection after the oral administration of a high-dose dexamethasone. She abruptly developed fulminant hepatitis and disseminated intravascular coagulation, and died 3 days later. VZV DNA and antigens were detected in the peripheral blood (6 x 10(8) copies/mL) and a postmortem liver specimen, respectively. The exposure to VZV was not confirmed and no skin lesions were observed. VZV infection should be considered in patients with unexplained liver dysfunction under severe immunosuppressive condition, even in the absence of viral exposure and skin involvement.

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