What are herpes simplex viruses (HSV)?

Updated: Mar 01, 2018
  • Author: Folusakin O Ayoade, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Herpes simplex viruses are ubiquitous, host-adapted pathogens that cause a wide variety of disease states. Two types exist: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Both are closely related but differ in epidemiology. HSV-1 is traditionally associated with orofacial disease (see the image below), while HSV-2 is traditionally associated with genital disease. Lesion location, however, is not necessarily indicative of viral type, as HSV-1 is associated with genital infections more often than HSV-2 in some unique subpopulations.


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