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Intervirology. 1998;41(2-3):98-102.

Subclinical reactivation of varicella-zoster virus in immunocompromised and immunocompetent individuals.

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Institute of Microbiology and Virology, University of Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany.


The occurrence of subclinical reactivation of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from immunocompetent subjects >60 years old without any signs of VZV-caused illnesses, and from immunocompromised patients was investigated. Altogether, 223 samples were tested by nested ORF 63 PCR assay. In addition, all positive samples were tested by ORF 14, ORF 29 and ORF 63 PCR assays, as well as by ORF 63 and ORF 68 nucleic acid sequence-based amplification assays. In 5 samples, VZV-specific DNA, but no transcripts, could be detected. Three of them belonged to the group of >60-year-olds, 1 was HIV positive, the other was being treated with chemotherapy. The results confirm the observation of other authors that subclinical reactivation occurs in both immunocompromised and healthy individuals. The failure to detect DNA in samples taken from 2 individuals several weeks later excludes a long-lasting infection of VZV in PBMC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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