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Herpes simplex is a common viral infection. If you’ve ever had a cold sore or fever blister, you picked up the herpes simplex virus. Most cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Other names for cold sores caused by HSV-1 are:

People who experience an initial outbreak of herpes can have repeated outbreaks, especially if they are infected with HSV-2. Repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak. Although the infection stays in the body for the rest of your life, the number of outbreaks may decrease over time.

There are two types of herpes simplex viruses (HSV), they are termed HSV-1 and HSV-2. These two viruses have distinctly different DNA, and both cause oral and genital lesions. However, HSV-1 causes about 80% of all oral lesions and only about 20% of genital lesions while HSV-2 causes the reverse (about 80% genital and 20% oral). Studies also suggest that in adolescents, up to 40% of genital herpes is caused by HSV-1 because of reported increased oral/genital contact (transmission by oral sex).

Jump up ^ Xu, Fujie; Fujie Xu; Maya R. Sternberg; Benny J. Kottiri; Geraldine M. McQuillan; Francis K. Lee; Andre J. Nahmias; Stuart M. Berman; Lauri E. Markowitz (2006-10-23). “Trends in Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and Type 2 Seroprevalence in the United States”. JAMA. AMA. 296 (8): 964–73. doi:10.1001/jama.296.8.964. PMID 16926356. Archived from the original on 2010-04-24.

Jump up ^ Mitchell BM, Bloom DC, Cohrs RJ, Gilden DH, Kennedy PG (2003). “Herpes simplex virus-1 and varicella-zoster virus latency in ganglia” (PDF). J. Neurovirol. 9 (2): 194–204. doi:10.1080/13550280390194000. PMID 12707850. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2008-05-17.

Herpes simplex is divided into two types; HSV-1 causes primarily mouth, throat, face, eye, and central nervous system infections, whereas HSV-2 causes primarily anogenital infections. However, each may cause infections in all areas.[4]

Physical: Physical factors that have been anecdotally identified differ among people. Being run-down, suffering from another genital infection (compromising the local skin area), menstruation, drinking too much alcohol, exposure of the area to strong sunlight, conditions that weaken the immune system, prolonged periods of stress or depression, are all factors that can trigger an episode. Less commonly, friction or damage to the skin, such as may be caused by lack of lubrication at the time of sexual intercourse, can lead to a recurrence. In summary, anything that lowers your immune system or causes local trauma (damage) can trigger recurrences.

Following active infection, herpes viruses establish a latent infection in sensory and autonomic ganglia of the nervous system. The double-stranded DNA of the virus is incorporated into the cell physiology by infection of the nucleus of a nerve’s cell body. HSV latency is static; no virus is produced; and is controlled by a number of viral genes, including latency-associated transcript.[65]

HSV infection causes several distinct medical disorders. Common infection of the skin or mucosa may affect the face and mouth (orofacial herpes), genitalia (genital herpes), or hands (herpetic whitlow). More serious disorders occur when the virus infects and damages the eye (herpes keratitis), or invades the central nervous system, damaging the brain (herpes encephalitis). People with immature or suppressed immune systems, such as newborns, transplant recipients, or people with AIDS, are prone to severe complications from HSV infections. HSV infection has also been associated with cognitive deficits of bipolar disorder,[11] and Alzheimer’s disease, although this is often dependent on the genetics of the infected person.

Antigens are foreign substances such as a viruses or bacteria that cause your immune system to respond. Thus, HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses are antigens and the body’s immune system creates antibodies in response to these antigens to fight or neutralize them. Antibodies are also called immunoglobulins (Ig). Antibodies are always present, whether you are having an active outbreak or not. You can have the test anytime.

Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a latex condom. Also, herpes virus can be released (shed) from areas of the skin that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

However, the virus does pose a threat to newborn babies if they are infected during birth. Although this is rare, the virus can affect the newborn baby’s skin and inner organs as well as the brain. If you have herpes during pregnancy, you should discuss this with your doctor.

As with almost all sexually transmitted infections, women are more susceptible to acquiring genital HSV-2 than men.[36] On an annual basis, without the use of antivirals or condoms, the transmission risk of HSV-2 from infected male to female is about 8–11%.[32][37] This is believed to be due to the increased exposure of mucosal tissue to potential infection sites. Transmission risk from infected female to male is around 4–5% annually.[37] Suppressive antiviral therapy reduces these risks by 50%.[38] Antivirals also help prevent the development of symptomatic HSV in infection scenarios, meaning the infected partner will be seropositive but symptom-free by about 50%. Condom use also reduces the transmission risk significantly.[39][40] Condom use is much more effective at preventing male-to-female transmission than vice versa.[39] Previous HSV-1 infection may reduce the risk for acquisition of HSV-2 infection among women by a factor of three, although the one study that states this has a small sample size of 14 transmissions out of 214 couples.[41]

Genital ulcerative disease caused by herpes makes it easier to transmit and acquire HIV infection sexually. There is an estimated 2- to 4-fold increased risk of acquiring HIV, if individuals with genital herpes infection are genitally exposed to HIV. 13-15 Ulcers or breaks in the skin or mucous membranes (lining of the mouth, vagina, and rectum) from a herpes infection may compromise the protection normally provided by the skin and mucous membranes against infections, including HIV. 14 In addition, having genital herpes increases the number of CD4 cells (the target cell for HIV entry) in the genital mucosa. In persons with both HIV and genital herpes, local activation of HIV replication at the site of genital herpes infection can increase the risk that HIV will be transmitted during contact with the mouth, vagina, or rectum of an HIV-uninfected sex partner. 14

Jump up ^ Foley, James A. (21 Oct 2013). “Hitchhiking Herpes Virus Aligns with Spread of Human Civilization”. NatureWorldNews.com. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.

It is rare for Genital Herpes to cause any long term health problems. However, the virus remains in the body and can cause further outbreaks. It is common to get outbreaks when you feel run down or when you are pregnant.

Painful blisters appear in and around the vagina or on the penis, around the anal area, or on the thighs or buttocks. Occasionally other skin sites away from the genital areas may be infected as well, such as the face and breasts. Single blisters can occur, but they usually occur in groups. A group of blisters that emerges at the same time is called a crop. In the primary infection several crops may occur one after another. The blisters are painful and tender to the touch. After a short while they look like small pink or red shallow sores (ulcers). After a few days, the blisters become crusted and then heal without scarring.

It should not be confused with conditions caused by other viruses in the herpesviridae family such as herpes zoster, which is caused by varicella zoster virus. The differential diagnosis includes hand, foot and mouth disease due to similar lesions on the skin.

HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes, and HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes — each strain prefers to live on its favorite area. But it’s totally possible for both types of herpes simplex to infect either area. For example, you can get HSV-1 on your genitals if someone with a cold sore on their lips gives you oral sex. And you can get HSV-2 in your mouth if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2 on their genitals.

^ Jump up to: a b c Shapiro M, Kvern B, Watson P, Guenther L, McElhaney J, McGeer A (October 2011). “Update on herpes zoster vaccination: a family practitioner’s guide”. Can. Fam. Physician. 57 (10): 1127–31. PMC 3192074 . PMID 21998225.

genital herpes (herpes genita´lis) herpes simplex of the genitals, common sexually transmitted disease, usually caused by human herpesvirus 2 but occasionally by human herpesvirus 1. If it is present at term in the pregnant female, it may lead to infection of the neonate (see maternal herpes).

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Herpes simplex is no different to other herpes viruses: all of us have at least three of them. Most of us have had chickenpox (herpes zoster). Chickenpox can recur as shingles when you get older. Most of us have had herpes simplex 1 or 2, or both. At least 25% of us have cytomegalovirus (HH-5). Nearly all of us are positive for Epstein Barr (HH-4) antibodies, which causes glandular fever. Even if you have not had symptomatic disease, well over 90% of the adult population is infected with the herpes simplex virus. And most of us get human herpes virus (HHV) 6 and 7 by the time we are aged two years.

The presence of IgM HSV antibodies indicates acute infection with either HSV type 1 or 2. The IgG antibody assay detects IgG-class antibodies to type-specific HSV glycoprotein G (gG), and may allow for the differentiation of infection caused by HSV types 1 and 2. The presence of IgG-class antibodies to HSV types 1 or 2 indicated previous exposure, and does not necessarily indicate that HSV is the causative agent of an acute illness.

^ Jump up to: a b c d e Chi, AC; Damm, DD; Neville, BW; Allen, CM; Bouquot, J (11 June 2008). Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 250–53. ISBN 978-1-4377-2197-3. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017.

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