A case is reported of a patient who had previously undergone autologous bone marrow transplantation for recurrent Hodgkin's disease. The patient developed a generalised vesicular skin eruption. The clinical diagnosis was of disseminated shingles. Herpes viral particles were identified within the vesicular fluid by electron microscopy and using a specific monoclonal antibody to varicella zoster virus (VZV), positive immunofluorescence was detected in scrapings from the base of a vesicle. Gastroscopy and biopsy were performed because of severe abdominal pain and vomiting. The histological features were of non-specific active inflammation. Despite the histological absence of viral inclusions electron microscopy of the gastric biopsy revealed the presence of intranuclear herpes viral particles with a diameter of 90-100 nm. VZV specific DNA was detected by the polymerase chain reaction in the gastric biopsy extract. The patient was treated with acyclovir and made a full recovery.
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