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Chickenpox virus can cause stroke in HIV patients, according to study

Patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can, in rare cases, experience bleeding on the brain that causes a type of stroke called intracerebral hemorrhage.

A Loyola University Medical Center case study demonstrates that a called varicella-zoster can cause inflammation of blood vessels in the brain. This inflammation, known as cerebral vasculitis, can cause both hemorrhagic and non-hemorrhagic strokes.

The study by Daniel Vela Duarte MD, David Pasquale, MD, and senior author Murray Flaster, MD, PhD, was presented during a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology 2015 annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox in children and shingles in older adults. The virus typically remains dormant in patients with healthy immune systems, but can reactivate if the immune system is compromised.