Herpes simplex

From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary



(pathology) The infection or the disease caused by the herpes simplex virus that may be characterized by the formation and the eventual eruption of painful and watery blisters at the site of infection


Herpes simplex is a viral infection or disease. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus. The disease is characterized by the formation of painful, watery blisters that may eventually erupt. Depending on the type of herpes simplex virus that infects the host, the blisters may form in the genital area or around the mouth. There are two types of herpes simplex virus: type 1 and type 2. The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1, or human herpesvirus 1) is the causative agent of oral herpes (with symptoms such as cold sores). The herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2, or human herpesvirus 2) is the causative agent of genital herpes. Both of them are contagious and may be transmitted by contact. HSV-1 may spread by oral-to-oral transmission and HSV-2 may be transmitted through sexual contact. Specific conditions associated with herpes simplex viruses include herpetic gingivostomatitis (affecting the mucous membranes of the mouth and lips), herpes labialis (cold sores), herpetic whitlow (finger or thumb lesions), herpesviral encephalitis (affecting the human central nervous system), herpesviral meningitis (affecting the meninges), and herpes esophagitis (affecting the esophagus).

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