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STEROID THERAPY AND INFECTION

JAMA. 1963;186(6):592. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710060078018.
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Patients taking adrenal corticosteroid hormones are more susceptible than others to infection by many common pathogens. Herpes simplex keratitis, staphylococcal furunculosis, and pulmonary tuberculosis are among the potentially dangerous complications. These common pathogens may assume a variety of clinical disguises, such as lupus simplex, erythema nodosum, tuberculosis, or pharyngitis. Therefore their presence may not be suspected, in spite of efforts by physicians to protect patients from infection.

Brodkin,1 in the September issue of the Archives of Dermatology, reported the case of a man admitted to a hospital ward with herpes zoster, who transmitted the infecting virus as varicella to two other patients. There have been numerous other reports of varicella developing in susceptible individuals after exposure to zoster, and it is widely accepted that zoster and varicella are caused by the same organism. However, since zoster is not ordinarily considered a contagious disease, zoster patients are seldom isolated. Brodkin's

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