Herpes simplex virus (HSV) belongs to the family of Herpesviridae.There are two types of Herpes simplex virus that affect humans - herpes virus 1and herpes virus 2, also known as HSV1 and HSV2. Other six types of HSV virusesdo not cause any harm to people. The infection with HSV is highly contagious andit can lead to a number of different diseases. HSV has proven to be very likelyto infect the skin and mucous membranes in the human body. It also affects theneurons of the dorsal root ganglia, where the virus persists for many years andcause latent infection.
HSV 1 and 2 Infections
Infection with HSV type 1 can cause: oral herpes, coldsores, herpes dermatitis, herpes keratitis and herpetic whitlow, but alsogenital and neonatal herpes and herpes encephalitis.
HSV 2 infections might lead to: neonatal and genital herpes,herpetic whitlow and herpetic dermatitis.
Oro-facial herpes or cold sores are in most cases caused byHSV1. Many people having problems with it acquired herpes infection when theywere children, and the infection remain latent (present sometimes) all theirlife. It is usually associated with gingivostomatitis, fever and swelling ofthe lymph glands at the base of the jaw. This condition might even get serious,especially in immunocompromised or people with eczema.
HSV is also the main cause of keratitis and blindnessworldwide. Therefore, ocular HSV infections must be treated in order to preventthe scarring.
Neonatal herpes affects the newborn babies, and can beacquired during the birth if the mother is infected with HSV but asymptomatic.
Genital herpes is one of the most transmitted STDs (sexuallytransmitted diseases), although it is often unrecognized and undiagnosed (inalmost 80% of all cases).
Doctors usually recognize herpes symptoms in patients, but in orderto prescribe antiviral medications, patients must be diagnosed and confirmed bysome lab testing. HSV infection can’t be cured and there is no knowncure for it. Once infected, person remains infected for life, and the virus stays for goodin the body.
Microbiological proof is necessary to confirm the diagnosis,as we already said, and after that doctors are able to prescribe appropriatetreatment. HSV diagnostic methods include: isolation of viruses, direct detectionof viral antigens (immunofluorescence on the culture of cells), PCR (polymerasechain reaction) and type-specific serology (which include Western blot, ELISA testsand enzyme immunoassay). The golden standard in serological testing on HSVantibodies is Western blot test.
Antiviral drugs are prescribed to ease the symptom and decreasethe rate of viral shedding and viral transmission to sexual partners.