Herpes Simplex Virus Esophagitis in Immunocompetent Children: A Harbinger of Eosinophilic Esophagitis?

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Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common cause of infectious esophagitis. The aim of this retrospective study is to identify comorbid and predisposing conditions and sequelae of HSV esophagitis in immunocompetent children. We reviewed 16 cases of HSV esophagitis diagnosed from January 1982 to March 2016. Five patients were immunosuppressed, 11 were immunocompetent and included in the study. Three (27%) had no other significant medical history. Five patients (45%) had repeat biopsies following their HSV infection, which showed eosinophilic infiltrate consistent with current diagnostic criteria of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), one of whom had known EoE. Environmental allergies and/or asthma were present in 4 of 5 of these patients. Among the immunocompetent patients, EoE was a comorbidity in almost half, although biopsies at the time of HSV esophagitis did not show diagnostic features of EoE. Clinical follow-up is therefore warranted for immunocompetent children presenting with HSV esophagitis, particularly those with atopic conditions.

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