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Facts you should know about Herpes Simplex Virus infection

Herpes virus infection is a viral disease caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Herpes simplex virus is also called herpes simplex virus, and there are two types: herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2. When infected with herpes simplex virus, symptoms range from mild symptoms such as blisters on the skin mucosa to severe diseases such as encephalitis. Like herpes zoster virus, once infected, herpes simplex virus remains in a person’s body for a lifetime. Normally, symptoms do not appear because it is in a latent state, but symptoms may recur when the virus is reactivated by stimulation.


Herpes simplex type 1 is characterized by blistering of the skin. In the early stages of infection, stomatitis and pharyngitis are the most common symptoms. In recurrent cases, herpes simplex occurs mainly in the mouth, around the mouth, lips, mucous membranes in the oral cavity, the hard palate (relatively hard anterior to the palate), and soft palate (relatively soft posterior to the palate). Herpes simplex type 2 is a sexually transmitted disease, and blisters are formed in the external genital area, and symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, fatigue, weakness, and enlarged cervical lymph nodes are sometimes accompanied. Herpes simplex virus can cause encephalitis or meningitis even in healthy people, and cases are not rare. Herpes simplex encephalitis can cause fever, headache, confusion, or even seizures. If the mother has herpes simplex in her vagina, the fetus may become infected with herpes simplex virus during childbirth.


Types 1 and 2 herpes simplex viruses cause herpes simplex. Infection occurs when skin mucosa or damaged skin is exposed to the herpes simplex virus. Even when infected, there are often no early symptoms. After infection, herpes simplex virus proliferates in the epidermis and dermis of the skin, then penetrates into the surrounding nerve cells and exists in a latent state. During this latent infection, the virus is present in the nerve cells, but there are no apparent symptoms. Afterwards, when the virus is reactivated by stimuli such as fever or stress, it travels to other mucosal sites via sensory nerves and causes symptoms in that area.


When blisters appear in clusters like grapes, it can be diagnosed as herpes simplex. On the other hand, it can also be diagnosed through an experimental method. After injecting the material collected from the blister fluid or the edge of the blister into the experimental cells, observe the changes in the cells caused by the virus. Alternatively, the virus can be isolated through cell culture using blisters at symptomatic sites. In the case of herpes encephalitis, changes in the temporal lobe of the brain can be confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and a method of detecting herpes simplex virus DNA in cerebrospinal fluid is useful for diagnosis.


There are various formulations such as pills, intravenous injections, and ointments for the treatment of herpes simplex virus. Depending on the symptoms of the disease, the appropriate drug is selected and used. However, these antiviral agents cannot remove the herpes simplex virus dormant in the ganglion. Therefore, the use of antiviral drugs does not cure herpes virus infection, but only reduces the severity and duration of pathological symptoms on the skin or mucous membranes.

Progress and Complications

Herpes simplex type 1 may recur due to fever or severe stress, causing pathological symptoms on the skin. Since herpes simplex of the genital area caused by type 2 herpes simplex is easy to recur, treatment with antiviral agents to suppress the proliferation of the virus is needed. Encephalitis may also leave a sequelae of disability. If herpes simplex develops on the cornea, it may cause blindness due to corneal opacity.


For type 2 herpes simplex virus infection with a high recurrence rate, antiviral agents are administered for a long period of time to continuously suppress the proliferation of herpes simplex virus.

Guides for everyday life

The herpes simplex virus is transmitted by contact. Therefore, to prevent primary infection, avoid contact with other body fluids. It is also necessary to be aware of the possibility of transmission through sexual contact.

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