Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivation from the enteric nervous system can cause ileus (Ogilvie's syndrome) in adult patients. Since no pediatric cases have been described, we sought to retrospectively analyze VZV reactivation in pediatric hematology-oncology patients to determine whether VZV infection including subclinical VZV reactivation can induce gastrointestinal complications such as Ogilvie's syndrome. Thirty-five patients who received chemotherapy at our institution between September 2013 and June 2018 were included. Serum samples were collected weekly during hospitalization and every 3 months during outpatient maintenance chemotherapy. A real-time polymerase chain reaction assay was used to measure VZV DNA load in serum. The clinical features of patients with VZV infection were retrospectively analyzed. Of 1165 serum samples, 7 (0.6%) were positive for VZV DNA. VZV DNA was detected in 3 of 35 patients. In patient A, VZV DNA was detected during two episodes. The first episode involved varicella-like eruptions caused by the Oka VZV vaccine strain. The second episode involved herpes zoster (HZ) caused by the same strain. Patients B and C had a clinical course that was typical for HZ caused by wild-type VZV. No gastrointestinal symptoms were observed at the time of VZV infection in these three patients. VZV DNA was not detected in any other samples. No pediatric cases with Ogilvie's syndrome caused by VZV reactivation were demonstrated in this cohort. Additionally, no subclinical VZV reactivation was found in this cohort. Further study is needed to elucidate the precise incidence of pediatric Ogilvie's syndrome caused by VZV reactivation.
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