Of 13 patients with chickenpox pneumonia (12 of them adults) treated during 1979-87, 10 received antiviral drugs--nine acyclovir and one vidarabine. Three died despite intensive treatment. Serious secondary infections occurred in six cases. There were no clear indications that antiviral treatment altered the natural history of the condition. Acyclovir may at present be used too late in the course of chickenpox pneumonia to alter its outcome.
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