Varicella zoster virus meningoencephalitis after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

J. Suzuki, M. Ashizawa, S. Okuda, H. Wada, K. Sakamoto, K. Terasako, M. Sato, S. I. Kimura, M. Kikuchi, H. Nakasone, S. Kako, R. Yamazaki, K. Oshima, J. Nishida, Y. Kanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Although the reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV) is a common complication after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), VZV meningoencephalitis is a rare life-threatening infectious disease after HSCT. We describe here a patient who developed VZV meningoencephalitis 2 years after human leukocyte antigen-matched unrelated HSCT for acute myeloblastic leukemia. She developed chronic graft-versus-host disease, and cyclosporine (CSA) was continued until 17 months after HSCT. Low-dose acyclovir (ACV) at 200 mg/day was administered to prevent the reactivation of VZV from day -7 to the termination of CSA. At 22 months, she suddenly developed fever, loss of consciousness, and seizure, with generalized skin rash. A high level of VZV DNA was detected in her cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). She was diagnosed to have VZV meningoencephalitis. Intravenous ACV at 30 mg/kg/day was given for 2 months. Although loss of consciousness was quickly resolved, some neurologic symptoms persisted. She did not have any known risk factors for VZV reactivation. Therefore, we should keep in mind that any HSCT recipient may develop VZV meningoencephalitis, and examination of CSF for VZV infection with an empiric administration of ACV may be recommended for HSCT recipients with central nervous system symptoms, even in the absence of skin manifestations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E7-E12
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Varicella zoster virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Infectious Diseases


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