A 9 year old boy developed acute monoarthritis of the left knee concurrent with the appearance of a varicella zoster virus (VZV) rash. Repeated VZV DNA hybridisation of the cells within the synovial fluid and synovial membrane failed to show any evidence of intracellular virus. Virus was isolated from synovial fluid 24 hours after the start of clinical infection but not later. These findings suggest that the mechanism of the arthritis is not due to viral replication inside the swollen joint.
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