Skip to main content

Correction to: The role of high load herpes simplex virus in patients with mechanical ventilation: a real hospital acquired viral lung infection needs antiviral therapy?

The Original Article was published on 07 April 2020

Correction to: Crit Care (2020) 24:140

Following publication of the original article [1], the authors response author reported an error that Fig. 1 was missing in the Author’s response section. The figure is given below.

Another error was identified by the authors‘response authors which reported the references used in the Authors‘response section were incorrect.

The updated Authors‘response and additional references are given below and the changes have been highlighted in bold typeface.

Authors’ response

Reinhard Hoffmann2, 3*, Lukas Schuierer1, 2, 3

1: TUM Graduate School, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany

2: Institute for Laboratory Medicine and Microbiology, University Hospital Augsburg, Germany

3: Faculty of Medicine, Augsburg University, Germany

We thank Drs. Wang and He for their careful evaluation of our paper. First, we agree that detectable herpes simplex virus (HSV) replication is not a rare event in ventilated intensive care unit (ICU) patients [2]. We, however, strictly focused on patients in whom pulmonary infection was unambiguously diagnosed (including cases with normal chest X-ray but pathological findings on bronchoscopy) for which no other cause could be identified, and who do not respond to antibiotic treatment (Fig. 1). This strict selection of patients distinguishes our publication from all previously published studies. We therefore think that HSV is the causative pathogen in our patients. It may well be, however, that it also plays a role in other patient populations which we have not examined. We do not think, however, that widespread screening of ventilated patients is helpful, since it will almost certainly lead to overtreatment of a large proportion of patients which do not have any signs of clinically relevant pulmonary disease—and who, according to a very recent study, will not profit from preemptive treatment [3]. Second, as stated above, we do not think that sequential monitoring of patients without clinical evidence of infection is helpful. Moreover, it is not entirely clear to us which type of “blood tests” the authors suggest. In our experience, serum or full blood PCR testing may be performed additionally to the testing of respiratory secretions and would underscore its clinical significance, if positive. We have, however, never really evaluated the diagnostic value of HSV PCR in blood samples—after all, it can be detected in almost 30% of sepsis patients [4]. Serology also may not be helpful given the high rate of latently infected people in the general population, which all have positive serology. Their final point is related to the first point above—we evaluated only patients with a high likelihood of viral disease before initiation of treatment. Moreover, our result that acyclovir is effective in these patients suggests—a posteriori—that HSV may be the responsible pathogen for pulmonary disease.


Reinhard Hoffmann

Lukas Schuierer

Fig. 1
figure 1

Therapeutic approach (adapted from Forel et al. [5]). ICU intensive care unit, HSV herpes simplex virus

The original article [1] has been updated.


  1. Wang H, He H. The role of high load herpes simplex virus in patients with mechanical ventilation: a real hospital acquired viral lung infection needs antiviral therapy? Crit Care. 2020;24:140.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Cantan B, Luyt CE, Martin-Loeches I. Influenza infections and emergent viral infections in intensive care unit. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2019;40:488–97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Luyt CE, Forel JM, Hajage D, Jaber S, Cayot-Constantin S, Rimmele T, et al. Acyclovir for mechanically ventilated patients with herpes simplex virus Oropharyngeal reactivation: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2019.

  4. Textoris J, Mallet F. Immunosuppression and herpes viral reactivation in intensive care unit patients: one size does not fit all. Crit Care. 2017;21:230.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Forel JM, Martin-Loeches I, Luyt CE. Treating HSV and CMV reactivations in critically ill patients who are not immunocompromised: pro. Intensive Care Med. 2014;40:1945–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hangyong He.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wang, H., He, H. Correction to: The role of high load herpes simplex virus in patients with mechanical ventilation: a real hospital acquired viral lung infection needs antiviral therapy?. Crit Care 24, 377 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: