HSV asymptomatic shedding occurs at some time in most individuals infected with herpes. It can occur more than a week before or after a symptomatic recurrence in 50% of cases. Virus enters into susceptible cells by entry receptors such as nectin-1, HVEM and 3-O sulfated heparan sulfate. Infected people who show no visible symptoms may still shed and transmit viruses through their skin; asymptomatic shedding may represent the most common form of HSV-2 transmission. Asymptomatic shedding is more frequent within the first 12 months of acquiring HSV. Concurrent infection with HIV increases the frequency and duration of asymptomatic shedding. Some individuals may have much lower patterns of shedding, but evidence supporting this is not fully verified; no significant differences are seen in the frequency of asymptomatic shedding when comparing persons with one to 12 annual recurrences to those with no recurrences.
Oral herpes infection is mostly asymptomatic, and the majority of people with HSV-1 infection are unaware they are infected. Symptoms of oral herpes include painful blisters or open sores called ulcers in or around the mouth. Sores on the lips are commonly referred to as “cold sores.” Infected persons will often experience a tingling, itching or burning sensation around their mouth, before the appearance of sores. After initial infection, the blisters or ulcers can periodically recur. The frequency of recurrences varies from person to person.
A genital rash and mild itching usually are the earliest signs of infection. Eventually vesicles on the surface of the skin form, and then enlarge, break open, and ulcerate. The lesions are painful, especially during coitus, and can cause intense itching, and, if the urethra is involved, painful urination. The disease affects both sexes. In the male, vesicles are found principally on the glans penis, shaft of the penis, and prepuce, and may extend to the scrotum and inner thighs. In the female, vesicular eruptions usually involve the vulva, vagina, and cervix, and may extend to the perineum, inner thighs, and buttocks. Lesions of the cervix can vary from small superficial ulcers with diffuse inflammation to a single, large, necrotic ulcer. Other symptoms include malaise, fever, and anorexia. There also can be involvement of neural structures the manifestation of neurologic symptoms. The characteristic lesions usually last from one to three weeks in either the initial stage or during periodic outbreaks.
The first indications that chickenpox and shingles were caused by the same virus were noticed at the beginning of the 20th century. Physicians began to report that cases of shingles were often followed by chickenpox in the younger people who lived with the person with shingles. The idea of an association between the two diseases gained strength when it was shown that lymph from a person with shingles could induce chickenpox in young volunteers. This was finally proved by the first isolation of the virus in cell cultures, by the Nobel laureate Thomas Huckle Weller, in 1953.
Jump up ^ Wald A, Langenberg AG, Krantz E, et al. (November 2005). “The relationship between condom use and herpes simplex virus acquisition”. Annals of Internal Medicine. 143 (10): 707–13. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-143-10-200511150-00007. PMID 16287791. Archived from the original on 2008-07-08.
In the shedding stage, the virus starts multiplying in the nerve endings. If these nerve endings are in areas of the body that make or are in contact with body fluids, the virus can get into those body fluids. This could include saliva, semen, or vaginal fluids. There are no symptoms during this stage, but the virus can be spread during this time.
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.
Individuals with genital HSV infection should abstain from sexual activity whilst experiencing symptoms of genital herpes. HSV-2 is most contagious during an outbreak of sores, but can also be transmitted when no symptoms are felt or visible.
It may be difficult, but it is important to tell your partner as soon as possible if you believe you may have an STD. Even if you are being treated, you may still be able to spread the infection. For some STDs, it’s recommended that both partners be treated at the same time. It can be difficult to share this information, so some people find that preparing a script in advance can be helpful. Here are some facts that can help the conversation go more smoothly:
There is a slightly increased risk of developing cancer after a shingles infection. However, the mechanism is unclear and mortality from cancer did not appear to increase as a direct result of the presence of the virus. Instead, the increased risk may result from the immune suppression that allows the reactivation of the virus.
In women, genital herpes usually causes blistering lesions on the vulva and around the vaginal opening that progress to ulcer formation. The infection spreads to involve the cervix in most cases, leading to cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix). In some women, cervicitis may be the only sign of genital herpes infection. Infection and inflammation of the urethra accompanies the infection in some women, leading to pain on urination.
The consistent and correct use of condoms can help to prevent the spread of genital herpes. However, condoms can only reduce the risk of infection, as outbreaks of genital herpes can occur in areas not covered by a condom.
Signs and Symptoms: The first sign is usually a firm, round, painless sore on the genitals or anus. The disease spreads through direct contact with this sore. Later there may be a rash on the soles, palms, or other parts of the body (seen here), as well as swollen glands, fever, hair loss, or fatigue. In the late stage, symptoms come from damage to organs such as the heart, brain, liver, nerves, and eyes.
Jump up ^ Rooney JF, Straus SE, Mannix ML, et al. (1992). “UV light-induced reactivation of herpes simplex virus type 2 and prevention by acyclovir”. J. Infect. Dis. 166 (3): 500–06. doi:10.1093/infdis/166.3.500. PMID 1323616.
Jump up ^ Akhtar, Jihan; Shukla, Deepak (December 2009). “Viral entry mechanisms: cellular and viral mediators of herpes simplex virus entry”. FEBS Journal. 276 (24): 7228–36. doi:10.1111/j.1742-4658.2009.07402.x. PMC 2801626 . PMID 19878306.
The frequency and severity of recurrent outbreaks vary greatly between people. Some individuals’ outbreaks can be quite debilitating, with large, painful lesions persisting for several weeks, while others experience only minor itching or burning for a few days. Some evidence indicates genetics play a role in the frequency of cold sore outbreaks. An area of human chromosome 21 that includes six genes has been linked to frequent oral herpes outbreaks. An immunity to the virus is built over time. Most infected individuals experience fewer outbreaks and outbreak symptoms often become less severe. After several years, some people become perpetually asymptomatic and no longer experience outbreaks, though they may still be contagious to others. Immunocompromised individuals may experience longer, more frequent, and more severe episodes. Antiviral medication has been proven to shorten the frequency and duration of outbreaks. Outbreaks may occur at the original site of the infection or in proximity to nerve endings that reach out from the infected ganglia. In the case of a genital infection, sores can appear at the original site of infection or near the base of the spine, the buttocks, or the back of the thighs. HSV-2-infected individuals are at higher risk for acquiring HIV when practicing unprotected sex with HIV-positive persons, in particular during an outbreak with active lesions.
Unless the immune system is compromised, it suppresses reactivation of the virus and prevents shingles outbreaks. Why this suppression sometimes fails is poorly understood, but shingles is more likely to occur in people whose immune systems are impaired due to aging, immunosuppressive therapy, psychological stress, or other factors. Upon reactivation, the virus replicates in neuronal cell bodies, and virions are shed from the cells and carried down the axons to the area of skin innervated by that ganglion. In the skin, the virus causes local inflammation and blistering. The short- and long-term pain caused by shingles outbreaks originates from inflammation of affected nerves due to the widespread growth of the virus in those areas.
Some persons who contract genital herpes have concerns about how it will impact their overall health, sex life, and relationships. 5,11 There can be can be considerable embarrassment, shame, and stigma associated with a herpes diagnosis that can substantially interfere with a patient’s relationships. 10 Clinicians can address these concerns by encouraging patients to recognize that while herpes is not curable, it is a manageable condition. 5 Three important steps that providers can take for their newly-diagnosed patients are: giving information, providing support resources, and helping define treatment and prevention options. 12 Patients can be counseled that risk of genital herpes transmission can be reduced, but not eliminated, by disclosure of infection to sexual partners, 5 avoiding sex during a recurrent outbreak, 5 use of suppressive antiviral therapy, 5,7 and consistent condom use. 5,7 Since a diagnosis of genital herpes may affect perceptions about existing or future sexual relationships, it is important for patients to understand how to talk to sexual partners about STDs. One resource can be found here: www.gytnow.org/talking-to-your-partner
In one study, it was estimated that 26% of those who contract shingles eventually present complications. Postherpetic neuralgia arises in approximately 20% of people with shingles. A study of 1994 California data found hospitalization rates of 2.1 per 100,000 person-years, rising to 9.3 per 100,000 person-years for ages 60 and up. An earlier Connecticut study found a higher hospitalization rate; the difference may be due to the prevalence of HIV in the earlier study, or to the introduction of antivirals in California before 1994.
If one partner has a herpes outbreak, avoid sex — even with a condom or dental dam — until all sores have healed. Herpes can be passed sexually even if a partner has no sores or other signs and symptoms of an outbreak. Finally, one way to lessen this risk is to take antiviral medication even when no sores are present if you know you have genital herpes.
For people who experience very frequent herpes recurrences, suppressive antiviral therapy, which reduces the frequency of herpes recurrences, can help reduce the impact the herpes recurrences can have on sexual activity and may reduce the risk of herpes transmission.
Herpes genitalis When symptomatic, the typical manifestation of a primary HSV-1 or HSV-2 genital infection is clusters of inflamed papules and vesicles on the outer surface of the genitals resembling cold sores.
The primary infection is likely to cause intense pain and discomfort, and is also likely to last the longest of all occurences. Babies who contract herpes during birth may break out into blisters within days of their birth.
Primary orofacial herpes is readily identified by clinical examination of persons with no previous history of lesions and contact with an individual with known HSV-1 infection. The appearance and distribution of sores in these individuals typically presents as multiple, round, superficial oral ulcers, accompanied by acute gingivitis. Adults with atypical presentation are more difficult to diagnose. Prodromal symptoms that occur before the appearance of herpetic lesions help differentiate HSV symptoms from the similar symptoms of other disorders, such as allergic stomatitis. When lesions do not appear inside the mouth, primary orofacial herpes is sometimes mistaken for impetigo, a bacterial infection. Common mouth ulcers (aphthous ulcer) also resemble intraoral herpes, but do not present a vesicular stage.
Although acyclovir is available as a cream, studies show that cream applied to the skin is of very little if any benefit. For benefit to be had from acyclovir it should be taken orally (in life-threatening situations a doctor may give acyclovir intravenously). Acyclovir has been in use for many years and has been shown to be a remarkably safe drug, even in babies and children or when taken for long periods. Acyclovir is particularly useful in lessening and shortening the symptoms of primary genital herpes. It is of less benefit in recurrences and if used, should be taken as early as possible, preferably as soon as a person feels the prodromal symptoms of itching or burning, before the blisters have even appeared.
In males, the lesions occur on the glans penis, shaft of the penis or other parts of the genital region, on the inner thigh, buttocks, or anus. In females, lesions appear on or near the pubis, clitoris or other parts of the vulva, buttocks or anus.
Antiviral drugs may reduce the severity and duration of shingles; however, they do not prevent postherpetic neuralgia. Of these drugs, aciclovir has been the standard treatment, but the new drugs valaciclovir and famciclovir demonstrate similar or superior efficacy and good safety and tolerability. The drugs are used both for prevention (for example in HIV/AIDS) and as therapy during the acute phase. Complications in immunocompromised individuals with shingles may be reduced with intravenous aciclovir. In people who are at a high risk for repeated attacks of shingles, five daily oral doses of aciclovir are usually effective.
People with Bell’s palsy usually don’t need medical treatment, however, drugs like steroids, for example, prednisone seem to be effective in reducing swelling and inflammation are used when medical is necessary. Most people with Bell’s palsy begin to recover within two weeks after the initial onset of symptoms. Full recovery may take three to six months.
Neonatal herpes simplex is a HSV infection in an infant. It is a rare but serious condition, usually caused by vertical transmission of HSV-1 or -2) from mother to newborn. During immunodeficiency, herpes simplex can cause unusual lesions in the skin. One of the most striking is the appearance of clean linear erosions in skin creases, with the appearance of a knife cut. Herpetic sycosis is a recurrent or initial herpes simplex infection affecting primarily the hair follicles.:369 Eczema herpeticum is an infection with herpesvirus in patients with chronic atopic dermatitis may result in spread of herpes simples throughout the eczematous areas.:373