High variability in viral load in cerebrospinal fluid from patients with herpes simplex and varicella-zoster infections of the central nervous system

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2007 Dec;13(12):1217-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2007.01831.x. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


Infections of the central nervous system (CNS) caused by herpes viruses can result in severe diseases, often with a fatal outcome. In this study, the viral load in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with herpes simplex or varicella-zoster infections of the CNS was measured using a quantitative real-time PCR. The results suggest a high variability in viral load, with relatively mild disease associated with a high viral load in CSF and vice versa. Determination of the viral load in CSF does not therefore seem to be useful in assessing the prognosis of disease caused by these viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / virology*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / virology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Herpes Simplex / virology*
  • Herpes Zoster / virology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Viral Load*