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Dermatology Online Journal

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Clinical features of atypical presentations of mucocutaneous herpes simplex virus infection observed in immunosuppressed individuals. Part I: herpetic geometric glossitis


Herpetic geometric glossitis is a unique morphologic variant of HSV (herpes simplex virus) type 1 infection on the dorsum of the tongue that presents as an extremely painful linear central lingual fissure with a branched pattern. in the center of the tongue; there is a branched pattern of fissures that extend bilaterally from the central linear fissure. Herpetic geometric glossitis has been reported in 11 patients; 8 of these individuals were immunocompromised. Medical conditions and immunosuppressive medication treatment (7 patients) or only medical disorders (3 patients) or neither (1 patient) were present. HSV type 1 infection was diagnosed by viral culture in (7 patients), Tzanck preparation (2 patients) or clinically (2 patients). Mucocutaneous HSV infection at non-lingual locations--including the lips, labial mucosa, face and chest--were observed in 5 patients. All patients' symptoms and lesions responded to treatment with oral antiviral therapy: acyclovir (9 patients), famciclovir (1 patient) or valacyclovir (1 patient). The lingual pain and dorsal tongue fissures completely resolved completely within two to 14 days. In summary, herpetic geometric glossitis is a unique HSV type 1 infection, usually in immunocompromised patients, that occurs on the dorsal tongue and responds completely after treatment with orally administered antiviral therapy.

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