The herpes simplex virus comes in two types: type 1, or HSV-1, is very common and most often is an oral herpes, an type 2 herpes, or HSV-2, which is genital. This virus is frequently spotted at the cervix, vulva, urethra, penis, anus and mouth. This is why the transmission is most often from person to person, by contact between mucous membranes or between skin and mucosa. Once outside the body, the virus is very fragile. After an initial infection the virus remains latent in the body and may reappear in the course of an infection or stress.
The first infection with herpes simplex type 1 often goes unnoticed. It frequently affects children and it sometimes manifests itself as follows:
- initially, a child with fever, pain, and eating disorders;
- then, the appearance of gray pimples with a red outline, and a white coating on the gums or inside the mouth called herpetic gingivostomatitis;
- unpleasant breath;
- disorders of food intake;
- Other forms are strictly related to the skin or eye with pimples on the eyelids. They may even occur in the form of angina.
The virus is then latent in the body and can reappear in different forms:
- cold sores on the lip;
- nasal herpes;
- herpetic stomatitis, similar to gingivostomatitis.
Herpes is not a big deal for a healthy person, but can be problematic in the immunocompromised individual or newborn, with neurological and generalized forms.
The diagnosis of herpes simplex type 1 is usually clinical. In some cases, a professional may refer to a culture, serology or PCR (on blood sampling).
No medical treatment can permanently eliminate the herpes simplex virus type 1 from the body. There are treatments that reduce symptoms and pain. In the case of recurrences in a healthy subject, no treatment is recommended, the lesions disappear spontaneously.
To prevent herpes simplex type 1, one should avoid close contact with people during infection.