Which clinical conditions are caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection?

Updated: Mar 17, 2020
  • Author: Sean P McGregor, DO, PharmD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 and HSV-2 are the causative agents of herpes genitalis, herpes labialis, herpes gladiatorum, herpetic whitlow, herpetic keratoconjunctivitis, eczema herpeticum, herpes folliculitis, lumbosacral herpes, disseminated herpes, neonatal herpes, and herpes encephalitis. [5] They have also been linked to some cases of erythema multiforme. In pediatric patients, HSV infection is associated with 18% of cases of erythema multiforme. [6] A febrile illness, exposure to UV light, trauma, upper respiratory infection, or emotional stress may trigger recurrent herpes labialis due to HSV-1.

The patient's geographical location, socioeconomic status, and age influence the frequency of HSV-1 infections. The highest prevalence of antibodies to HSV-2 occurs in female prostitutes, male homosexuals, and HIV-positive individuals.

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