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Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences

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Prodromal herpes zoster mimicking odontalgia – A diagnostic challenge

S Patil, K Srinivas, BHS Reddy, M Gupta

Abstract


Herpes zoster (shingles) is caused by reactivation of the latent varicella zoster virus which is present due to an earlier varicella infection (chicken-pox). Herpes Zoster is a less common and endemic disease than varicella, although factors causing reactivation are still not well known, but it occurs in older and/or immunocompromised individuals. Involvement of C3, T5, L1, L2 and first division of trigeminal nerve are the most frequently encountered whereas the involvement of second and third division of trigeminal nerve is rarely seen. During the prodromal stage, the only presenting symptom may be odontalgia, which may prove to be a diagnostic challenge for the dentist, since many diseases can cause orofacial pain, and the diagnosis must be properly established before final treatment. Here we present a case of herpes zoster involving the second division of trigeminal nerve masquerading as odontalgia. The difficulties in diagnosis and management are discussed.

KEYWORDS: herpes zoster, odontalgia, prodromal, trigeminal.




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