herpes simplex

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • Herpes simplex is an acute viral disease
  • it causes blisters and sores around the mouth, nose, genitals, and buttocks, but they may occur almost anywhere on the skin.(1)
    • the oral and genital mucocutaneous surfaces are the primary sites of infection(2)
  • there are two types of Herpes infection:
    • Type I Herpes virus
      • HSV I is spread by infected saliva and is therefore spread by close personal contact.
      • it is most commonly associated with oral-facial lesions
      • marked by groups of vesicles on the skin, often on the borders of the lips or nares - cold sores
      • most (80%) with oral-facial HSV infections have a subclinical primary course (2)
      • the patient can be a carrier for an indefinite period of time (2)
    • Type II Herpes simplex
      • HSV II - is a genital infection and is usually spread by genital contact
      • it is marked by groups of vesicles on the genitalia - genital herpes
  • when herpes simplex infection is accompanied by fevers the disease is termed herpes febrilis.
  • HSV is a poor immune stimulator but can cause cross reactivity and thus cross resistance. By the age of 40, 85% of the population has antibodies to HSV. This prevalence is reached by age 5 in developing countries.
  • both types of herpes simplex, can be spread by touching an unaffected part of the body after touching a herpes lesion (1)
    • most herpes may be transmitted even in the absence of lesions (1)
  • the infections may reappear periodically (1)

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