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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1995 May;32(5 Pt 2):908-11.

Atypical varicella-zoster virus infection in an immunocompromised patient: result of a virus-induced vasculitis.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Würzburg, Germany.


We describe a patient with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in whom persistent, painless, ecthymatous nodules developed as a result of a varicella-zoster virus infection. The localized infection occurred without a vesicular stage. Ultrastructural studies revealed a lack of epidermal involvement and massive varicella-zoster virus replication within endothelial cells, leading to an obliterative vasculitis. This suggests direct infection of dermal vessels from adjacent nerves, bypassing the epidermis, which is usually infected first in the classic infectious pathway during varicella-zoster virus reactivation from sensory nerves.

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