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J Infect Dis. 1998 Aug;178(2):539-43.

Congenital varicella-zoster virus infection and Barrett's esophagus.

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Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Congenital varicella syndrome is a rare complication of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection during pregnancy. An infant was exposed to VZV at 18.5 weeks of gestation and had eye and skin abnormalities at birth and persistent feeding difficulties, prompting esophageal biopsies at 12 days and 20 and 20.5 months of age. Esophageal tissues demonstrated specialized intestinal metaplasia (Barrett's esophagus). VZV DNA (in situ hybridization) and proteins (immunohistochemistry and polymerase chain reaction) were found in esophageal epithelial cells adjacent to the Barrett's lesion. Immediate-early 63 protein (IE63) of VZV was demonstrated in the day 12 specimen, and IE62 and the late VZV glycoprotein E (gE) were found in the 20-month specimen. Clinical and endoscopic improvement followed fundoplication and acyclovir therapy, but VZV DNA and IE62 persisted in esophageal tissue. These findings associate VZV with specialized intestinal metaplasia within the esophagus and suggest a novel site for either latent or active VZV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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