How is herpes simplex virus (HSV) transmitted?

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

HSV is transmitted via close personal contact.

HSV infection occurs via inoculation of virus into susceptible mucosal surfaces (eg, oropharynx, cervix, conjunctiva) or through small cracks in the skin.

The virus is inactivated readily at room temperature and by drying; hence, aerosol and fomitic spread are rare.

HSV-1 is transmitted chiefly by contact with infected saliva, whereas HSV-2 is transmitted sexually or from a mother's genital tract infection to her newborn. However, lesion location does not always indicate viral type.


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