ABSTRACT: The first herpes virus to be described was types 1 and 2, whose denomination is herpes simplex 1 and 2 or HSV-1 and HSV-2. These viruses have specific biological characteristics, such as the ability to cause different kinds of diseases, as well as to establish hosts latent or persistent lifetime infections and also of being reactivated, causing lesions that can be located at the same site of the initial primary infection or close to it. It is suggested that this virus reactivation in the geniculate ganglion may be related to Bell's palsy. In this situation, the viruses that would be latent in this ganglion, would suffer reactivation and replication, then be diffused through the facial nerve and its branches, among them the chorda tympani nerve, which by stimulating salivary secretion would enable the identification of the viral DNA in the patients saliva. Until recently, a great number of patients was diagnosed as holders of this kind of paralysis, named idiopathic or Bell's palsy. With the introduction of the technique studying the viral DNA by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), several authors have found herpes simplex virus type I DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid, in the lachrymal secretion, in the saliva and in the geniculate ganglia of patients with Bell's palsy.
observe the occurrence of herpes simplex type I virus using PCR technique in the saliva of patients with Bell's palsy and relating it to the clinical evolution of these cases.
We evaluated 38 patients with Bell's palsy submitted to anamnesis, clinical and ENT examination and saliva sampling for viral DNA detection by PCR technique. The control group was ten normal adults.
We found positive viral DNA in 11 cases out of the 38, which corresponded to 29% of the sample. This result was statistically significant if compared to the control group, in which we did not find any positive case.
The end result was that the presence of HSV-1 in the saliva of patients with Bell's palsy indicating that the viral reactivation can be the etiology of this disease. The detection of the virus in these patients saliva does not influence the disease prognosis.
Brazilian journal of otorhinolaryngology 72(1):7-11.