Herpes Simplex: Viruses and Infections


Human herpes viruses 1 and 2 (HSV‐1 and HSV‐2) are among the most common human viral pathogens. Various epidemiological factors determine the infecting HSV type with significant changes in the epidemiology of genital herpes and HSV‐1 infections especially in developed countries. Following transmission of HSV to a susceptible person, symptomatic or asymptomatic infection may result with localized disease, the most common manifestation. HSV then establishes latency in the dorsal root ganglia which enables subsequent reactivation. The risk and rate of reactivation are dependent on numerous host factors and the infecting viral subtype. The number of diagnostic tests has increased with molecular methods improving our understanding of asymptomatic viral shedding. Antiviral therapy ameliorates the clinical manifestations and improves survival in neurological disease. Prophylactic antiviral strategies have been formulated for recurrent disease, but vaccine trials do not yet show clinically relevant benefit.

Key concepts

  • Classification of human herpes viruses

  • Structure and replication of HSV

  • Pathogenesis of HSV

  • Latency

  • Immunological responses to HSV

  • Epidemiology of HSV

  • Interaction between HSV and HIV infection

  • Clinical manifestations and complication

  • Diagnostic modalities for HSV detection

  • Antiviral therapy and strategies used in the treatment of HSV

  • Preventative strategies and vaccines

Keywords: herpes simplex viruses types 1 and 2; latency; primary infection; reactivation; first episode (nonprimary)


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Further Reading

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van Hal, SJ, and Dwyer, DE(Mar 2009) Herpes Simplex: Viruses and Infections. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020716]