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Home :: Infectious Diseases

Herpes Simplex - Herpes Simplex symptom, treatment, virus picture


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The Herpes Simplex virus produces a variety of infections involving mucous-skin junctions (lips), the central nervous system and the genitals. Herpes is equally common in males and females. It occurs worldwide and is most prevalent among children in lower socioeconomic groups who live in crowded environments. Saliva, stool, urine, skin lesions, and purulent eye exudate are potential sources of infection. The number of cases caused by HSV-1 has grown due to changing practices. Each consists of a core, which contains the viral DNA, wrapped in a protein-studded coat known as the envelope In fact, once a person has been infected with the herpes virus, it's in the body forever. There are medications that can alleviate some of the discomfort that outbreaks cause. Both primary and repeat attacks can cause problems including: a minor rash or itching, painful sores, fever, aching muscles, and a burning sensation with urination.

Exposure to the virus at mucosal surfaces or abraded skin permits entry of the virus and initiation of replication in the cells of the skin. Whether or not clinically apparent lesions develop, sufficient viruses remain dormant in the body throughout life and tend to flare up from time to time depending upon the susceptibility of the individual and low resistance. Herpes Simplex infections occur throughout the year. The incubation period ranges from 1- 26 days. Contact with an ulcerative lesion or asymtomatically excreting patients can result in transmissions.

Clinical Features of Herpes Simplex

1. Orofacial Herpes Infection: Gum infections, pharyngitis and fever boils on the lips are the most frequent clinical manifestations. There may be fever, malaise, body aches, inability to eat, irritability and enlargement of neck lymph nodes, which may last from 3-14 days. Bleeding from the lesions is common.

2. Genital Herpes: Seen in active young adults. There is at first itching of the genital area, followed by development of small, painful blisters or ulcers. The person may feel unwell, feverish. Inguinal lymph glands are enlarged.

3. Herpes Encephalitis: It is a cause of acute sporadic encephalitis. Spread to the brain is via the olfactory nerve of smell within the nostrils. There is an acute onset of fever and thereafter neurological signs of headache, vomiting, neck rigidity and drowsiness.

Herpes simplex is an infection that primarily affects the mouth or genital area. An infection of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2) can lead to genital herpes, a transmitted disease that causes blisters and pain in the genital area. Herpes simplex infections are asymptomatic in as many as 80% of patients, but symptomatic infections may be characterized by significant morbidity and recurrence.One type of the virus - herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) - can lead to cold sores around the mouth. These are sometimes confused with canker sores or aphthous ulcers , which have a similar appearance; these appear inside the mouth and are not caused by the herpes simplex virus. This tends to happen when the immune system is weakened, in situations of stress, during a cold or on exposure to strong ultraviolet light, even in people without HIV. HSV Type 2 may also occur in other locations, but is usually found below the waist. Then, in about 15 per cent of people carrying it, the virus periodically reawakens producing painful, infectious sores on the affected part of the body.

Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) are ubiquitous, extremely host-adapted pathogens that can cause a wide variety of illnesses. Approximately 20% of the adult population in the United States is seropositive for HSV-2. A person can get the cold sores of HSV1 by kissing or sharing eating utensils with an infected person. The herpes simplex virus ( HSV ) is a virus that manifests itself in two common viral infections , each marked by painful, watery blisters in the skin or mucous membranes (such as the mouth or lips) or on the genitals . Before the blisters appear, the skin may itch, sting, burn, or tingle. The blisters can break as a result of minor injury, allowing the fluid inside the blisters to ooze and crust First or primary attacks of Type 1 infections occur mainly in infants and young children, which are usually mild or subclinical. In crowded, underdeveloped areas of the world up to 100% of children have been infected by the age of 5. Such attacks occur more frequently in children and the elderly, since these groups tend to have less efficient immune systems than adults. The crust then falls off and the redness slowly goes away. The whole process takes about 10-14 days. Scars rarely form. Some people experience just some itching or burning in the area while most people have no symptoms at all.

Causes of Herpes Simplex

The common Causes of Herpes Simplex :

  • Infection occurs via inoculation of virus into susceptible mucosal surfaces (eg, oropharynx, cervix, conjunctiva) or through small cracks in the skin.
  • HSV-1 - Transmitted through direct contact with infected saliva or direct contact with contaminated utensils
  • The virus is inactivated readily at room temperature and by drying; hence, aerosol and fomitic spread occur rarely.
  • Maternal-fetal transmission
  • Herpes simplex is caused by the herpes hominis virus.
  • Fever, sun exposure and menstruation can act as trigger factors, which cause the virus to travel down the nerves to the skin and cause the outbreak known as herpes or cold sores.
  • Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is transmitted symptoms include genital ulcers or sores in addition to oral and genital lesions, the virus can also lead to complications such as meningoencephalitis (infection of the lining of the brain and the brain itself) or cause infection of the eye -- in particular the conjunctiva , and cornea.

Symptoms of Herpes Simplex

Some common Symptoms of Herpes Simplex :

  • An itching or burning sensation
  • Fever
  • Pain in the legs, buttocks, or genital area
  • Headache
  • The gums may become mildly swollen and red and may bleed.
  • Discharge
  • A feeling of pressure or fullness in the abdominal area
  • Muscle aches
  • Neck lymph nodes often swell and become painful.

Treatment of Herpes Simplex

Here is the list of the methods for treating Herpes Simplex :

  • Overall, medical treatment of HSV revolves around specific antiviral treatment.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • In situations in which constitutional effects such as fever occur, symptomatic treatment can be used.
  • Many people have reported significant results with natural treatments such as Choraphor and similar skin solutions.
  • Use acetaminophen (Feverall, Panadol, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Excedrin, Ibuprin, Advil, Motrin) for fever and muscle aches.
  • For the first attack of herpes simplex, acyclovir needs to be taken for 7-10 days for recurrent attacks, acyclovir works best when taken as soon as you feel burning, or tingling in the area.
  • Infectious disease specialist for disseminated disease and encephalitis
  • Obstetrician for active genital herpes in a near-term pregnancy