Hepres labialis after viper envenomation

DOCTORS in India have compiled 10 cases in which patients had a severe outbreak of herpes labialis as they recovered from a close encounter with a Russell’s viper.

The snake’s venom could be immunosuppressant, they suggest, or the virus was reactivated by the kidney problems also experienced by the patients and known to be caused by the venom.

“Herpes labialis developed 4–8 days after the snake bite,” they reported.

“Whether herpes labialis is associated with Russell’s viper envenomation or acute kidney injury per se is not clear [but this association] points to a possible immunologically altered state in these patients.”

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2011; 84:1016-20