(1997; 132 pages) [French] [Spanish]
Human (alpha) herpesvirus (herpes simplex virus) 1 is carried asymptomatically by the majority of adults in almost every community. Some patients develop characteristic recurrent vesicular lesions, usually in or around the mouth and to a variable extent on the face. The lesions are small, cause only slight discomfort, and resolve within a few days without scarring. These recurrent lesions are a manifestation of reactivation in a host with an established immunity to the virus. In contrast, extensive painful gingivostomatitis or pharyngitis can occur as a primary response to exposure to the virus. Fortunately, in immunocompetent patients, this type of response is rare. However, patients with atopic eczema, newborn infants and immunocompromised patients sometimes develop a widespread vesicular eruption that can be life-threatening.
Human (alpha) herpesvirus (herpes simplex virus) 2 lesions are typically found in the genital area.1
1 For further information, see WHO model prescribing information: drugs used in sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1995.
Mild infections with herpesvirus 1 are self-limiting and usually require no treatment. Newborn infants, immunocompromised patients and patients with atopic eczema should be treated with systemic aciclovir.