Fatal disseminated visceral varicella zoster virus infection in a renal transplant recipient

Michael J. Loftus, Michelle K. Yong, Scott Wilson, Anton Y. Peleg

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10 Citations (Scopus)


We report a case of fatal disseminated varicella zoster virus (VZV) with delayed–onset rash in a 66-year-old female more than 2 years following uncomplicated deceased donor renal transplantation. Whilst on a stable regimen of maintenance immunosuppression, the patient presented with chest and abdominal pain with concomitant hepatitis and pancreatitis. After pursuing multiple other potential causes of her symptoms, the correct diagnosis of VZV was only suspected after the development of a widespread vesicular rash—11 days after her initial symptoms. Despite antiviral therapy and inotropic support in the intensive care unit, the patient died. Simultaneous VZV hepatitis and pancreatitis in solid organ transplant recipients is uncommon. The new inactivated VZV vaccines have the potential to prevent post-transplant infections, with promising early clinical data on safety and efficacy in renal transplant recipients. VZV is an important preventable infection that should be considered in immunocompromised patients, even in the absence of rash.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13062
Number of pages4
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • immunocompromised
  • kidney transplantation
  • varicella zoster virus

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