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Severe herpes zoster ophthalmicus in young African adults: a marker for HTLV-III seropositivity.
  1. P Kestelyn,
  2. A M Stevens,
  3. E Bakkers,
  4. D Rouvroy and
  5. P Van de Perre
  1. Centre Hospitalier de Kigali, Rwanda.


    This report proves the relationship between herpes zoster ophthalmicus and seropositivity for HTLV-III in young and often apparently healthy African patients. The ophthalmologist should screen patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus for antibodies against HTLV-III in areas where this virus is endemic or if the patient belongs to a known risk group. If the test is positive, the patient should be instructed about the infectious nature of his condition to prevent spread of this sexually transmitted disease. As the rate of corneal involvement and postherpetic neuralgia are very high in these patients, it would be worthwhile to ascertain whether routine use of acyclovir treatment in HTLV-III seropositive patients with herpes zoster has a beneficial effect on these complications.

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