What is the common clinical presentation of primary orolabial herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection?

Updated: Feb 27, 2019
  • Author: J Michael Klatte, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Most infections are caused by HSV-1 and are localized to the mouth and oropharynx. Only 10-30% of orolabial infections are symptomatic.

The most common clinical presentation of first-episode, primary herpes simplex virus infection in children (usually aged 6 mo to 5 y) is acute herpetic gingivostomatitis, as is shown in the image below.

Primary herpes simplex virus (HSV) gingivostomatit Primary herpes simplex virus (HSV) gingivostomatitis in an infant is shown. This same patient also had concomitant herpes whitlow as shown in the following image.

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