Herpes Simplex
(Herpesvirus)

Alternate Names

  • Genital Herpes
  • Oral Herpes
  • Cold Sores

Herpes simplex is a virus that lives along the nerve cells when dormant, and causes recurrent breakouts that are infectious. There are two different types: Herpes simplex I (HSV I) which causes cold sores or eye infections; and herpes simplex II (HSV II) which causes genital lesions and is spread by sexual contact. It is important to be aware of the presence of HSV II infection when pregnant, since the baby can contract the disease from his mother during birth. This can lead to the development of blindness, mental retardation, and there is a high incidence of death in infected infants. HSV I and HSV II are both tested as part of the TORCH panel that is routinely run on all pregnant women.

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