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Common Medicines Reactivate Virus and Cause Severe Drug Reaction

A dangerous reaction to drugs including antibiotics and anticonvulsants may be caused by a severe immune response to reactivated herpes virus.

The reaction is known as Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) or Drug-Induced Hypersensitivity Syndrome (DIHS). It can be fatal. In a study into DRESS, scientists found the condition an immune reaction prompted when a dormant virus is reactivated and fighter T cells attempt to fight it.

According to Reuters:

“DRESS typically causes a combination of high fever, skin rash and inflammation of one or more organs, including the liver, kidneys, lungs and sometimes the heart. Around 10 percent of patients who develop DRESS die from it.”

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