Herpes simplex

Herpes simplex: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Alternative Names: Herpes catarrhalis, herpes facialis, herpes febrilis, and herpes labialis, Simplex virus.Herpes simplexHerpes is a family name for some 50 related viruses. In addition to herpes simplex, the family also contains the viruses responsible for infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr Virus), chickenpox (varicella), and shingles (herpes zoster), human herpesvirus 6 (associated with roseola infantum), human herpesvirus 7 (associated with roseola infantum and febrile convulsions), and human herpesvirus 8 (associated with Kaposi sarcoma and lymphomas).Herpes simplex viruses are two types, types 1 (HSV-1) and types 2 (HSV-2).Herpes simplex -1 infections are marked most commonly by the eruption of one or more groups of vesicles on the vermilion border of the lips or at the external nares. Many Herpes simplex -1 infections occur during childhood when an infant or child is kissed by a relative or friend who has active HSV-1. This is common—about 50% to 80% of adults in the United States have HSV-1 herpes. The virus is also present in the saliva of people with Herpes simplex -1.In HSV-2 the lesions are generally on genitalia. HSV-2 is usually transmitted sexually. Other types of transmission are possible, but they are unusual. Two-thirds of people with HSV-2 infection have recurrences of their symptoms.Both types often are recrudescent and reappear during other febrile illnesses or even physiologic states such as menstruation. The viruses frequently become latent and may not be expressed for years.HSV can even infect a fetus and cause abnormalities. A mother who is infected with HSV may transmit the virus to her newborn during vaginal delivery, especially if the mother has an active infection at the time of delivery.How the virus spreads:It is estimated that nine out of ten people have been exposed to herpes. Many people are infected and do not even know it. Unfortunately those who carry herpes can spread the disease without even knowing it.
  • 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.
Risk Factors:Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for HSV-2 (genital herpes).
  • A high number of sexual partners.
  • Poor socioeconomic status.
  • Emotional stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Women are more susceptible to HSV-2 infection than man.
  • People with compromised immune systems.
Symptoms:Blisters on the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth, lips, and genitals.
  • Mouth sores
  • Genital lesions -- may be lead by burning or tingling feeling.
  • Fever blisters.
  • Fever.
  • Extension of lymph nodes in the neck or groin.
Diagnosis:Many times, doctors can tell whether you have an HSV infection simply by looking at the sores. However, certain tests may be ordered to be sure of the diagnosis.These tests may include:Blood test for antibodies of HSV (Glycoprotein gG-1 is associated with HSV-1 andGlycoprotein gG-2 is associated with HSV-2).
  • 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.
Treatment:While there are no known cures for herpes, there are several safe medications to reduce outbreaks. Some cases are mild and may not need treatment.People who have severe or prolonged outbreaks (especially if it is the first episode), people with immune system problems, or those with frequent recurrences will benefit from antiviral medications such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and Penciclovir.People who have frequent or severe recurrences of oral or genital herpes may choose to continue taking antiviral medications to reduce the frequency and severity of recurrences.Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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