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Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a human α-herpesvirus which cause primary varicella infection (chicken pox) or herpes zoster infection (shingles) after reactivation of the dormant virus. VZV infection is usually self-limited but disseminated infection can be seen in immunocompromised individuals. It can also get complicated by central nervous system (CNS) involvement. We describe a case of a 51-year-old male with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who presented with altered mental status and deficits in his right-sided cranial nerves of VI, VII, and VIII. The patient also had disseminated vesicular-pustular rash all over his body at different stages of healing. A diagnosis of disseminated VZV infection complicated by encephalitis and Ramsay Hunt syndrome was made and the patient was treated with intravenous acyclovir and oral prednisone with a rapid improvement. The coexistence of these conditions is rare. The purpose of this report is to increase awareness of the coexistence of these two conditions in HIV infected patients.


Originally published in Cureus. See

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