Wednesday, May 13, 2015

OCULAR HERPES VIRUS - you won't believe how he got it . . .

 My eldest daughter and her family took a trip to Disney World in Florida the end of April.
The day after they got home, my 12 year old grandson complained his left eye hurt and it was slightly swollen and had had seeped a clear liquid that crusted over into a yellowish color.

My daughter took him to an Urgent Care facility and they 'thought' it could be a spider bite but wasn't really sure.  There were signs posted all over the place at their resort to be careful of brown spiders.  So that was a logical speculation.
 They prescribed an antibiotic and steroid medications.  Six days later, on Mother's Day Jonah's eye wasn't any better, in fact it looked worse and was turning purple and seeping even more.  My youngest daughter pointed out that he had several small 'dotted circles' around the eye area and side of face.  You can see 3 on the side of his nose as well near the corner of his eye.

The next morning, those small circles turned into lesions and began to seep and crust over.  Notice how his eye is turning purple.

 Jonah's eye was constantly tearing up and his vision was blurry.  Yesterday his mom took him to their regular doctor and he had NO CLUE what was going on and sent them to a pediatric dermatologist specialist who works with Children's Hospital here in Pittsburgh.
They determined Jonah had contracted  Type 1 Herpes simplex virus.  So how did he get it?
They asked my daughter questions about what was different in the last week or so from any other day.  She told them they just got back from a trip to Disney World.  They wanted to know if Jonah had gone into the ocean.  Yes, once.  What else did they do there besides go to the park.  They went to Universal Studios.  No, that wasn't it.  What else did you do?  They went miniature golfing and there was a baby alligator there for picture taking.
Did you know that juvenile alligators carry the Type1 Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV1) ?   I didn't and neither did my daughter.  My son-in-law told Jonah to be sure to wash his hands as reptiles are known to carry a form of salmonella.  He did, but apparently not soon enough and must have touched his face without realizing it.  Did you know we touch our face at least once every 3 minutes without being aware of it?
   The pediatric specialist sent Jonah to an Ophthamologist who was in the same building as an emergency patient and was seen immediately.  His eyes were dilated and lesions were found on his lower eyelids and the whites of both eyes.  Thankfully no lesions appeared on his corneas, which would have been a problem.
The photo above was taken after he got to my house, his eyes are still dilated and weeping.  Poor little guy was so miserable and in pain.  He spent the night at my house because he's not going to school the rest of the week and I was needed to care for him with his meds in the morning because mom leaves for work at 4:30 am.  He has a liquid oral medicine that's an antiviral drug, eye drops and 2 different gels that have to be applied to the lesions outside of the eye.
This last photo was this morning.  The dark crusty part under his eyebrow has come off leaving a red 'raw' area.  He goes back to Children's Hospital on Friday for a followup.

Sadly, there is no cure for herpes (yet)  and Jonah will carry this virus in his body always.   There is a chance once this is cleared up after treatment, he could break out in his eyes again.  If that happens, he will be put on a special medication for the rest of his life.

**Adult alligators do not carry the virus and researchers have found that alligator blood serum destroys some human virus' such as HIV, Herpes Simplex, some fungal diseases and staph infection.  Scientists predict in the near future there will likely be a topical ointment for human use.**

Please think twice about letting your children/grandchildren handle baby/juvenile alligators.    That's not to say that all children will contract the virus, as my grandson's step brother age 16 also held the small gator and he did not have any problems.  Better safe than sorry.


  1. how horrible for the little one nephew likes to hold them ,i will be sure to let my brother know...thanks and I hope he gets better soon

  2. Oh poor fella... I hope he heals quickly and never has an issue again. Thanks for the info.

  3. Poor guy, not something you would expect after a vacation. I hope that it clears up soon and he doesn't have to suffer future outbreaks. I am glad I saw this, would never have thought of this and we do go to our local aquarium where they have petting tanks.


  4. WOW thanks for the info!! that is so scraey!! who would ever think that could happen!! And the fact that he will have it the rest of his life. Will this be reported to them that it happened so that maybe they could at least post a sign or even stop it? Sending love n prayers!! XOXO Love Fran.

  5. HOLY COW!! I would have thought? Poor little dude! I hope this goes away and stays away. Thanks for the info Denise!
    Sending prayers for a speedy recovery.

  6. Wow!! Your poor grandson, he looks so miserable. :(

    I will be praying for him. Thank you for sharing this, I had never heard of this before.