Herpesviradae infections in severely burned children

Paul Wurzer, Megan R. Cole, Robert P. Clayton, Gabriel Hundeshagen, Omar Nunez Lopez, Janos Cambiaso-Daniel, Raimund Winter, Ludwik K. Branski, Hal K. Hawkins, Celeste C. Finnerty, David N. Herndon, Jong O. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective Burn-related immunosuppression can promote human herpesviridae infections. However, the effect of these infections on morbidity and mortality after pediatric burn injuries is unclear. Methods We retrospectively analyzed pediatric patients with burns ≥10% of the total body surface area (TBSA) who were admitted between 2010 and 2015. On clinical suspicion of a viral infection, antiviral therapy was initiated. Viral infection was confirmed via Tzanck smear, viral culture, and/or PCR. Study endpoints were mortality, days of antiviral agent administration, type of viral test used, type of viral infection, and length of hospitalization. Results Of the 613 patients were analyzed, 28 presented with clinically diagnosed viral infections. The use of Tzanck smears decreased over the past 5 years, whereas PCR and viral cultures have become standard. Patients with viral infections had significantly larger burns (53 ± 15% vs. 38 ± 18%, p < 0.001); however, length of stay per TBSA burn was comparable (0.5 ± 0.4 vs. 0.6 ± 0.2, p = 0.211). The most commonly detected herpesviridae was herpes simplex virus 1. Two patients died due to sepsis, which was accompanied by HSV infection. The mortality rate among all patients (2.7%) was comparable to that in the infected group (7.1%, p = 0.898). Acyclovir was given systemically for 9 ± 8 days (N = 76) and/or topically for 9 ± 9 days for HSV (N = 39, combination of both N = 33). Ganciclovir was prescribed in three cases for CMV. Conclusions Viral infections occur more commonly in patients suffering from larger burns, and HSV infections can contribute to mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-992
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Acyclovir
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Tzanck smear
  • Viral cultures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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