We examined the excretion of varicella zoster virus (VZV) in hospitalized patients with herpes zoster localized to the thoracic region whose skin lesions were covered with either hydrocolloid dressing agents (hydrocolloid group) or conventional gauze bandages (gauze group). The presence of VZV DNA in swab samples from lesion coverings, the throat, and filters of air purifiers was examined by use of a sensitive polymerase chain reaction assay. For the hydrocolloid group, VZV was detected in none of the samples from lesion coverings or air purifier filters; for the gauze group, VZV DNA was detected in samples from gauze coverings and air purifier filters for all 6 patients. VZV DNA was detected less frequently in throat samples from patients in the hydrocolloid group than in those from patients in the gauze group. The results of the present study suggest that hydrocolloid dressing agents prevent excretion of aerosolized VZV DNA from skin lesions of patients with localized herpes zoster.
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