Background: Pure red cell aplasia is characterized by anemia, reticulocytopenia and diminished bone marrow erythroid precursors. It has multifactorial etiology and consequently several therapeutic interventions.
Case: In August 2017, a young patient was diagnosed to have pure red cell aplasia. She was given immunosuppressive therapy for approximately two months but this treatment was stopped due to intolerance. Later on she developed herpes zoster infection that was treated with valacyclovir. Subsequently, it was noted that the patient became blood transfusion independent due to normalization of her hemoglobin and regeneration of the erythroid precursors in the bone marrow.
Discussion: Varicella zoster virus behaves differently from other members of the herpes group of viruses such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus. Two retrospective studies, performed in patients with malignant hematological disorders and bone marrow failure, have shown that infection with the virus may cause stimulation of the three cell lines in the bone marrow and superior overall survival.
Conclusion: The outcome of the patient presented confirms the findings of the two studies showing long-term beneficial effects of varicella zoster virus infections in immunocompromised individuals.