Human herpes viruses in burn patients: A systematic review

Paul Wurzer, Ashley Guillory, Daryousch Parvizi, Robert P. Clayton, Ludwik K. Branski, Lars P. Kamolz, Celeste C. Finnerty, David N. Herndon, Jong O. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective The contribution of human herpes viruses, including herpes simplex virus (HSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and varicella zoster virus (VZV) to morbidity and mortality after burns remains controversial. This systematic review was undertaken to assess evidence of herpes virus-related morbidity and mortality in burns. Materials and methods PubMed, Ovid, and Web of Science were searched to identify studies of HSV, CMV, or VZV infections in burn patients. Exclusion criteria included: A level of evidence (LoE) of IV or V; nonhuman in vivo studies; and non-English articles. There was no limitation by publication date. Results Fifty articles were subjected to full-text analysis. Of these, 18 had LoE between I–III and were included in the final review (2 LoE I, 16 LoE II–III). Eight had a prospective study design, 9 had a retrospective study design, and 1 included both. Conclusions No direct evidence linked CMV and HSV infection with increased morbidity and mortality in burns. Following burn, CMV reactivation was more common than a primary CMV infection. Active HSV infection impaired wound healing but was not directly correlated to mortality. Infections with VZV are rare after burns but when they occur, VZV infections were associated with severe complications including mortality. The therapeutic effect of antiviral agents administered after burns warrants investigation via prospective randomized controlled trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Burns
  • Chickenpox
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Human herpes virus
  • Varicella-zoster virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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