Which age groups have the highest prevalence of 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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Overall, the seroprevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 increase with increasing age. From 2005-2010, the seroprevalence of HSV-1 among patients aged 14-19 years was 30.1% and 63.6% among patients aged 40-49 years. [7] Similar trends exist for HSV-2 seroprevalence, with 1.2% of persons aged 14-19 years affected and 25.6% of those aged 40-49 years affected. [7] The frequency of HSV-1 infection in children also varies with socioeconomic status. Approximately, one third of children from families of lower socioeconomic status exhibit some evidence of HSV-1 infection by age 5 years. A retrospective review of HSV cases from pediatric dermatology clinics found the average age of presentation to be 6 years and 33% of patients presented at age 2 years or younger. [23] Approximately 40% of these children had a history of atopy and experienced six or more outbreaks per year. [23] Triggers included UV light exposure, cold weather, and systemic corticosteroids for asthma. [23]

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