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Herpes 1 and Herpes 2

Herpes is a viral disease caused by the herpes simplex virus, and there are several types of herpes, the most common being oral herpes and genital herpes. In fact, there are two herpes simplex viruses — herpes type 1 and herpes type 2. Medically, the two viruses are known as herpes simplex virus 1 or HSV-1 and herpes simplex virus 2 or HSV-2. Each virus tends to cause one or more particular types of herpes, but it can cause others as well. For example, the herpes 1 virus usually causes oral or orofacial herpes, but it can also cause genital herpes. Similarly, genital herpes is usually caused by the herpes 2 virus, but infections by the type herpes 1 virus are not uncommon these days.

Types of Herpes

The following are the types of herpes caused by the herpes simplex viruses:
•    Oral herpes: Oral herpes results in painful oral ulcers and inflammation the lining of the cheeks and the gums. Sometimes there may also by flu like symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, and muscle pains.
•    Genital herpes: Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, and results in tiny boils and lesions on the genitals and in the genital area, extending up to the anal area and the thighs as well. There is also usually itching and burning, and in some cases there may fever, headaches, body aches, and maybe even discharge from the genitals.

•    Ocular herpes: Ocular herpes is extremely dangerous, unlike most other herpes infections. It occurs when a facial herpes infection spreads to the epithelium of the eye. The primary infection is usually mild, but recurrent attacks can affect vision.

•    Herpes whitlow: Herpes whitlow affects the fingers and is usually transmitted from the mouth or genitals of another person. It tends to affect medical workers who frequently come into contact with infected people, and can be caused by either herpes 1 or herpes 2 viruses.

•    Herpes gladiatorum: This type of herpes usually affects people who play contact sports such as wrestling. The herpes sores usually appear on the face and neck, and are accompanied by the usual symptoms of fever and body ache.

•    Herpes encephalitis: This type of herpes infection affects the central nervous system and is the most dangerous. Like ocular herpes, the infection occurs when it spreads from a facial infection; the infection causes fever and seizures, and can even result in death.

•    Neonatal herpes: Neonatal herpes is transferred to the newborn child from an infected mother. As with most herpes infections, herpes sores appear, but they are also accompanied by more serious symptoms such as seizures and fluctuations in body temperature. Neonatal herpes is very rare, but is extremely dangerous.

In addition, the herpes simplex virus also causes a certain type of meningitis, known as Mollaret’s meningitis. The infection tends to recur for several months or maybe even a few years, with each attack lasting from one to three weeks, and subsiding without treatment. It is also thought that there may be a link between herpes virus infections and Bell’s palsy, the exact cause of which has not yet been discovered. Scientists also think that there may be a link between Alzheimer’s Disease and the presence of the herpes type 1 virus.
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