Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Pneumonia-A Review

Marlene Ersgaard Jellinge, Frank Hansen, John Eugenio Coia, Zhijun Song

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Pneumonia due to herpes simplex virus (HSV) is uncommon but can be seen in immunocompromised patients and has been associated with poor prognosis in this population.

AIM: The aim was to study the results, outcome and mortality of HSV pneumonia in immunocompromised patients and patients receiving mechanical ventilation. Furthermore, it has been unclear whether to initiate prophylactic treatment with acyclovir or not.

METHODS: We have conducted a literature search using the keywords herpes simplex pneumonia, critically ill patients and intensive care unit for identification of relevant publications.

FINDINGS: HSV pneumonia can cause severe infection or even death in immunocompromised patients and critically ill patients. A clear diagnosis of HSV pneumonia can be difficult to establish. Respiratory condition may improve after initiation of acyclovir but data is scarce.

CONCLUSION: HSV pneumonia should be considered in the immunocompromised patient and/or the intensive care patient who continues to deteriorate despite appropriate treatment. The value of prophylactic treatment with acyclovir is unproven but should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1398-1402
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Acyclovir/therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use
  • Herpes Simplex/diagnosis
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy


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