Case Study

Atypical presentation of herpes simplex virus type 1 infection in paediatric burns patients in a large tertiary hospital, South Africa

Mpho L. Sikhosana, Asma Salloo, Monica Birkhead, Kerrigan McCarthy
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 8, No 1 | a916 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v8i1.916 | © 2019 Mpho L. Sikhosana, Asma Salloo, Monica Birkhead, Kerrigan McCarthy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 October 2018 | Published: 23 October 2019

About the author(s)

Mpho L. Sikhosana, South African Field Epidemiology Training Programme, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Division of National Health Laboratory Services, Johannesburg, South Africa
Asma Salloo, Department of Critical Care, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Soweto, South Africa; and, Department of Critical Care, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Monica Birkhead, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Division of National Health Laboratory Services, Johannesburg, South Africa
Kerrigan McCarthy, Division for Public Health Surveillance and Response, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Division of National Health Laboratory Services, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Introduction: Herpes simplex virus has been reported in the literature to commonly complicate burn wounds. However, there is paucity of such data in the South African setting.

Case presentation: Eight paediatric burns patients with ages ranging between 10 months and 5 years presented with a febrile maculopapular rash illness in a paediatric ward of a large South African tertiary hospital. The rash became vesicular in three cases, involving the limbs and face. Varicella was suspected.

Management and outcome: Medical records of suspected cases were reviewed. Blood, vesicular fluid and scab samples were collected. Electron microscopy of vesicular fluid revealed herpes virus particles. Laboratory testing confirmed herpes simplex virus type 1.

Conclusion: Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection can present atypically in burns patients.


Keywords

herpes simplex virus type 1; burns; paediatrics; South Africa

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