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Herpes Simplex Infection in a Minor Burn Wound: A Case Report

Chen, Chun-Chia MD; Chen, Chung-Lin MD; Chiang, Ching-Hsiang MD; Pan, Shin-Chen MD

doi: 10.1097/01.bcr.0000176889.39355.41
Case Reports

The etiology of herpetic lesions on burn wounds generally is believed to be a reactivation of previous infection or possible exposure to the pathogens under an immunocompromised status. However, this scenario rarely happens in a non-immunocompromised infant with low burned body surface area (<4% TBSA). We report a case of previously healthy 21-month-old boy who sustained minor scald burn injury involving only 4% TBSA that was complicated with herpes simplex type 1 viral infection. The infection presented with ulcerative burn wound and delayed wound healing. The Tzanck smear of vesicular fluid for the identification of multinucleated giant cells is helpful in making the decision for the early initiation of acyclovir. In this work, we describe a case of pediatric burn patient with herpetic infection and emphasize the need for careful and impartial examination of the child to improve the accuracy of diagnosis.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Address correspondence to: Chung-Lin Chen, MD, Department of School of Medicine, National Cheng-Kung University, 138 Sheng-Li Road, Tainan, Taiwan 704.

©2005The American Burn Association