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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Chronic Headache and Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis Due to Varicella Zoster Virus Infection: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Laith Alamlih, Mohammad Abdulgayoom, Suresh N. Menik Arachchige, Mohammed Hamza Shah, Muhammad Zahid

Qatar Rheumatology Section, Department of Medicine, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e927699 :: DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.927699

Available online: 2021-02-04, In Press, Corrected Proof

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BACKGROUND Varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection causes 2 clinically distinct forms of the disease: varicella (chickenpox) and herpes zoster (shingles). Primary VZV infection results in the diffuse vesicular rash of varicella, or chickenpox. Endogenous reactivation of latent VZV typically results in a localized skin infection known as herpes zoster, or shingles.
The infection usually manifests as a self-limited disease. However, it can be associated with various neurological complications such as encephalitis, meningitis, ventriculitis, cerebellar ataxia, ischemic or hemorrhagic, and, rarely, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). This report presents a case of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis due to varicella zoster virus infection in a 20-year-old Nepalese man who presented to the Emergency Department with headache. CASE REPORT
A 20-year-old Nepalese male patient presented to the Emergency Department with headache of 10 day’s duration. Five days prior to that, he had a diffuse pruritic skin rash. Examination as well as serology confirmed the presence of primary varicella infection. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance venography (MRV) demonstrated CVST. Thrombophilia workup revealed a transient elevation of antiphospholipid serology. Shortly after admission, the patient had a transient seizure. He was treated with acyclovir, levetiracetam, and anticoagulation. A comprehensive literature review of similar cases was performed to establish a link between thrombotic complications and primary VZV infection and to formulate possible mechanistic pathways. CONCLUSIONS
This report shows that primary VSV infection can be associated with vasculopathy and CVST. Physicians should recognize this serious complication, which should be diagnosed and treated without delay.

Keywords: Anticoagulants; Antiphospholipid Syndrome; Herpesvirus 3, Human; Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial