- The virus comes in contact with broken skin or the lining of the mouth, vagina, or anus.
- The virus goes to the nuclei of the cells and tries to reproduce itself, or replicate.
- Though the cells are infected, most people do not get symptoms.
- Sometimes the virus's replication process destroys the cells it has invaded causing blisters or ulcers to form on the skin.
- The blisters or ulcers crust over and heal without scarring.
- The virus is transported back through the nerve to important nerve branching points called ganglia (an encapsulated neural structure consisting of a collection of cell bodies or neurons) deep in the body.
- The virus stays in the ganglia in an inactive or latent form. During this time, the virus does not replicate. It stays in this latent form for varying amounts of time. Certain triggers may cause the virus to travel back down the nerve to the skin and cause symptoms again. This is known as recurrence.
- A high number of sexual partners.
- Poor socioeconomic status.
- Emotional stress.
- Women are more susceptible to HSV-2 infection than man.
- People with compromised immune systems.
- Mouth sores
- Genital lesions -- may be lead by burning or tingling feeling.
- Fever blisters.
- Extension of lymph nodes in the neck or groin.
- Direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test of cells taken from a lesion.
- Viral culture of the lesion.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are much more accurate than viral cultures, and the CDC recommends this test for detecting herpes in spinal fluid when diagnosing herpes encephalitis. PCR can make many copies of the virus' DNA so that even small amounts of DNA in the sample can be detected. PCR is much more expensive than viral cultures. PCR is highly accurate, many labs have used it for herpes testing.
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