Rare presentation of primary varicella zoster as fatal fulminant hepatitis in adult on low-dose,short-term steroid: Case report
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Background Varicella zoster virus presents clinically as primary (chickenpox) or secondary (herpes zoster) infection. Cutaneous and extracutaneous dissemination may occur, usually in immunocompromised patients. VZV hepatitis that progresses to fulminant hepatic failure is very rare and fatal. To the best of our knowledge, 9 cases have been reported to date, of which 7 were in immunocompromised adults, and only one patient was on short duration steroid therapy. Presentation of case We present a 26-year old man who was admitted initially with acute abdomen as query persistent biliary colic. Later, he showed clinical and laboratory findings of VZV hepatitis that progressed rapidly despite maximal medical ICU support and he expired on day 3 of admission. Conclusions Acute VZV infection may present as fulminant hepatitis. The presentation may initially be challenging for the diagnosis and should be considered if the patient has been in contact with a sick case. Low dose corticosteroid could carry a risk for fatal VZV fulminant hepatitis and should be used very cautiously especially with VZV patients’ contacts. Further causative relationships remain to be established.
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