What are the signs and symptoms of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections?

Updated: Feb 16, 2018
  • Author: Sean P McGregor, DO, PharmD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Localized or disseminated eczema herpeticum is also known as Kaposi varicelliform eruption. Caused by HSV-1, eczema herpeticum is a variant of HSV infection that commonly develops in patients with atopic dermatitis, burns, or other inflammatory skin conditions. Children are most commonly affected by eczema herpeticum, and it is more commonly associated with younger age and black or Asian race. [30]

Herpetic whitlow, characterized by vesicular outbreaks on the hands and the digits, was most commonly due to infection with HSV-1. It usually occurred in children who sucked their thumbs and, prior to the widespread use of gloves, in dental and medical health care workers. The occurrence of herpetic whitlow due to HSV-2 is increasingly recognized, probably due to digital-genital contact.

Herpes gladiatorum is caused by HSV-1 and is seen as papular or vesicular eruptions on the face, arms, or torsos of athletes in sports involving close physical contact (classically associated with wrestling).

Disseminated HSV infection can occur in females who are pregnant and in individuals who are immunocompromised. These patients may present with atypical signs and symptoms of HSV, and the condition may be difficult to diagnose.

Herpetic sycosis, a follicular infection with HSV, may present as a vesiculopustular eruption on the beard area. This infection often results from autoinoculation after shaving through a recurrent herpetic outbreak. Classically caused by HSV-1, there have been rare reports of relapsing beard folliculitis caused by type 2 HSV. [31]

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