The herpes simplex virus infections produce various types, the most common mucocutaneous surfaces infections such as cold sores and genital herpes. There are two types of viruses:
The transmission is between persons infected by contact with saliva in the case of HSV-I or sex in the case of HSV-II. It is safe to contact with people who have active lesions as with people but asymptomatic infection.
There is also transmitted from mother to fetus at the time of vaginal delivery, especially if the woman has active genital lesions at delivery.
In the first contact or primary infection, once the virus enters the mucosa or the skin, and penetrates replicates in the nerve endings of the area. The virus migrates through neurons to ganglion neurons near the spinal cord (in the column). Once there can lie dormant without any symptoms. Subsequently, the virus can reactivate and new buds appear with mucosal lesions. At first, they usually have several outbreaks a year, especially the first few years after the first infection. After episodes become spacing.
Both oral and genital infection may pass without symptoms.
The oral infection and inflammation often results vesicles, blisters and ulcers in the lining of the mouth or lips. In primary infection, most common in children and young adults, may include fever, muscle aches, malaise and enlarged lymph nodes. In reactivations are typical lesions of herpes labialis, with liquid-filled vesicles subsequently dried.
Genital infection produces scattered ulcerated lesions in the genital area, accompanied by pain, itching and malaise in the primary infection.
The herpes virus can affect any tissue in the body. To highlight the ocular, giving the so-called “herpes keratitis” which is the involvement of the cornea of the eye. Usually gives very intense eye pain, blurred vision and red eye. Also note the “herpes encephalitis” or brain involvement. In young subjects usually results from an initial infection, while in adults is caused by a reactivation of the virus. The encephalitis usually a fever, disorientation and focal neurological symptoms.
The infection of newborns are usually very serious as it can affect the central nervous system and internal organs.
Immunocompromised patients (especially patients with HIV) may have herpes infections much more intense and severe than normal people
Often the diagnosis is clinical, with inspection of the lesions. However, the diagnosis can be confirmed with some additional tests (important in severe cases)
Genital herpes infection can be prevented with the use of condoms during sex.
The herpes infection of the newborn can be prevented by cesarean section, as it prevents the newborn from coming into contact with the mother’s vaginal mucosa.
In immunocompromised patients can be given antiviral drugs to reduce the frequency of outbreaks, but there is always the danger of generating virus resistance to drugs.
There is no vaccine against herpes simplex.