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March 2008 Off the Wire . . .

 

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Chickenpox virus in CSF is associated with MS relapses

Article Date: Thu, 2008-03-06 10:20



A few studies lately have linked varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles, with MS. A new study along these lines provides additional evidence of a connection. In this study, researchers examined spinal fluid and blood samples from MS cases both in relapse and remission and from non-MS controls. They found viral particles resembling VZV in the spinal fluid of MS subjects in relapse but not in subjects in remission or in controls with other neurological diseases.

Also, they detected VZV DNA in the spinal fluid and blood of MS subjects in relapse but generally not in subjects in remission. Whether VZV reactivation leads to relapse or vice versa still needs to be determined. It will also be interesting to see what effect VZV vaccination, now being administered to children in the US and other countries, may have on MS rates.


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