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Herpesvirus and neurological manifestations in patients with severe coronavirus disease

Virol J. 2022 Jun 8;19(1):101. doi: 10.1186/s12985-022-01828-9.


BACKGROUND: Certain clinical manifestations of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mimic those associated with human herpesvirus (HHV) infection. In this study, we estimated the prevalence of herpesvirus in patients with COVID-19 and determined if coinfection is associated with poorer outcomes and neurological symptoms.

METHODS: We analyzed samples of 53 patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The samples were evaluated for the presence of alphaherpesviruses, betaherpesviruses, and gammaherpesviruses, and the viral loads were quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method.

RESULTS: Among the patients, in 79.2% had detection at least one type of herpesvirus. HHV-6 (47.2%), cytomegalovirus (43.3%), and HHV-7 (39.6%) showed the highest detection rates. Patients with a high severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) load were more likely to show herpes simplex virus 1 detection (p = 0.037). Among patients coinfected with SARS-CoV-2 and HHVs, 26.4% showed central nervous system-associated neurological symptoms and herpetic manifestations. A statistically significant association was observed between neurological changes and HHV-6 detection (p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS: The findings showed a high prevalence of herpesvirus in patients with COVID-19. Furthermore, even though SARS-CoV-2 and HHV coinfection was not associated with poorer outcomes, the findings demonstrated the association between neurological symptoms and HHV-6 detection.

PMID:35676707 | DOI:10.1186/s12985-022-01828-9

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