Objective This study aimed to investigate the incidence of HSV types-1 and –2, VZV, CMV, EBV, HHV-6 and HHV-7 in childhood acute appendicitis.
Study Design Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were applied to detect herpes virus DNA in 38 children [11 girls and 27 boys, mean age 9 years (STD±2.59), range 6–14 years], who underwent an appendectomy within a 2.5-year period. Appendix, omentum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were available from each case. Of the 38 children with acute appendicitis, 20 (52.6%) had advanced (phlegmonous) acute appendicitis and 18 (47.4%) had perforated appendicitis and local peritonitis. Forty-one blood specimens from age-matched healthy children (25 female and 16 male), with clinical manifestations unrelated to viral infections served as negative controls.
Results CMV was the most frequently detected virus (8/38.21%), followed by HHV-6 (3/38.7.9%). EBV and HSV-1 were detected, though not in all three different types of tissue specimens tested. None of the samples examined were HSV-2, VZV or HHV-7 positive. Of all the specimens, the omentum was the most commonly infected tissue (63.0%) while the appendix and peripheral blood specimens were found to be positive for viral infection in 60.5% and 50% of cases, respectively. The CMV IgG+ antibodies were positive in 54% of the control cases while 86% of the same group presented HHV-6 IgG+ antibodies.
Conclusion To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study documenting the presence of herpes virus DNA in children with acute appendicitis, suggesting that possible viral infection or reactivation is associated with childhood appendicitis.