Newsletter
Email:
Poll: New Website
Do you like our new Website?
Home | Skin Conditions | Herpes Viruses

Herpes Viruses

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

There are eight human herpesviruses. What these viruses all have in common is the ability to hide out in the body without causing symptoms

Herpes Viruses

There are eight human herpesviruses. (Medical texts refer to herpesvirus as one word.) What these viruses all have in common is the ability to hide out in the body without causing symptoms, and then reappear at a later date. The herpesvirus family includes:

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (cold sores and whitlows on fingers and hands, also half new cases of genital herpes).

How common?

By age 15 around 25% of UK population, by age 30 around 50%. The rates are much higher in other countries.

How is it caught?

By direct skin contact with the affected part, when the virus is active.
 

How long before it appears (incubation period)?

4 or 5 days is usual, but it could be as soon as 2 days or as long as two weeks - or even longer.
 

What does it cause?

Often nothing, at its most obvious it causes a flu-like illness followed by blisters or ulcers on the affected skin. If it recurs, there are likely to be fewer blisters.

Herpes simplex virus type 2 (genital sores, also sometimes cold sores and whitlows)                                                                                                                     

How common?

Around 25% of the sexually active UK population. Over the whole country between 3% and 10%. The rates are much higher in other countries.

How is it caught?

By direct skin contact with the affected part, when the virus is active.

How long before it appears (incubation period)?

4 or 5 days is usual, but it could be as soon as 2 days or as long as two weeks - or even longer.

What does it cause?

Often nothing, at its most obvious it causes a flu-like illness followed by blisters or ulcers on the affected skin. If it recurs, there are likely to be fewer blisters.

Varicella-zoster virus (also called herpes varicella/chickenpox and herpes zoster/shingles)

How common?

Almost 100% of UK population by adulthood.                                 

How is it caught?

Chickenpox is caught like flu: virus floats in the air, from the breath of an infected person.
When it returns it is called shingles. No one can catch shingles, but if you have not had chickenpox and you have skin contact with shingles, you can catch chickenpox.

How long before it appears (incubation period)?

Two weeks is usual, but it could be as soon as 7 days or as long as 23 days.

What does it cause?

A flu-like illness followed by blisters over the body.  If it recurs, as shingles, the blisters will be a restricted area, often around the ribs. Older people may develop post-herpetic neuralgia, a pain the nerves that may be severe and may last for months or year.

Web: www.herpes.org.uk

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

  • email Email to a friend
  • print Print version
Rate this article
0