What factors determine the clinical course of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections?

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

HSV can cause either primary or reactivation (recurrent) infections. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are implicated in genital and orofacial primary infections after contact with infectious secretions that contain either HSV-1 (usually oral secretions) or HSV-2 (usually genital secretions). The clinical course depends on the age and immune status of the host, the anatomic site of involvement, and the antigenic virus type. Primary HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections are accompanied by systemic signs, longer duration of symptoms, and higher rate of complications. Recurrent infections are typically milder and shorter. HSV infections in immunocompromised host tend to be more severe, prolonged, and widespread and are more likely to recur than HSV infections in immunocompetent individuals.


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