Background : Increased mortality, extensive visceral involvement, and necrotizing tracheobronchitis associated with herpes viruses have been reported after burns. It is unclear whether herpes presenting as a facial rash results in outcome changes after burns.
Methods : A retrospective study characterizing the incidence, presentation, and outcome of 14 patients with facial herpes rashes out of 95 severely burned intubated adults was performed.
Results : Facial rashes attributed to herpetic infections were found in at least 15% of patients. The problem was recognized during the second week after burn. There was no difference in mortality or length of stay noted between patients with or without the infection.
Conclusion : The course of this infection was relatively benign in this group of acyclovir-treated patients. Even so, the lesions clearly contributed to patient discomfort and often produced fevers requiring costly investigations. Early recognition could help prevent diffuse spread of the lesions, decreasing patient discomfort and improving patient care.