This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Dementia and herpes simplex virus (HSV)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Association between herpes simplex virus (HSV) and dementia

In a Korean nationwide population-based cohort study, both HSV and VZV infections were associated with a higher risk of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (1):

  • of the 92,085 patients with HSV, 15,831 (17.19%) were diagnosed with dementia during the 10-year surveillance period, which was more frequent than that of the control group (n = 27,028, 14.17%) (P < . 001)
    • adjusted hazard ratio for developing dementia was found to be 1.18 (95% confidence interval [CI]; 1.16–1.20) in HSV and 1.09 (95% CI; 1.07–1.11) in VZV patients (all, P < .001)
    • HSV1 infections such as oral or ocular subtypes, but not HSV2, anogenital subtype, were associated with dementia, including several subtypes such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies
    • VZV infection was also associated with AD

In a prospective epidemiological study, anti-HSV 1 IgG seroprevalence was associated with a doubled risk of dementia in an older population (2):

  • study was conducted with 1002 dementia-free 70-year-olds living in Sweden in 2001–2005 who were followed for 15 years. Serum samples were analyzed to detect anti-HSV and anti-HSV-1 immunoglobulin (Ig) G, anti-cytomegalovirus (CMV) IgG, anti-HSV IgM, and anti-HSV and anti-CMV IgG levels
  • finding adds to the evidence supporting a role of HSV in dementia


  1. Shim Y, Park M, Kim J. Increased incidence of dementia following herpesvirus infection in the Korean population. Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Oct 14;101(41):e31116.
  2. Vestin E, Boström G, Olsson J, Elgh F, Lind L, Kilander L, Lövheim H, Weidung B. Herpes Simplex Viral Infection Doubles the Risk of Dementia in a Contemporary Cohort of Older Adults: A Prospective Study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2024;97(4):1841-1850.


Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page