Term Paper: Herpes Simplex Viruses

Pages: 5 (1488 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Unrecognized outbreaks account for about a third of all reactivation. In the early stage of a recurring episode, there may be itching, tingling or pain in the area where the lesions will develop a day or two before an outbreak. This may include pain in the buttocks, back of legs or the lower back.

People with an HSV-1 infection may have a significant first episode, but are less likely to have outbreaks in the first year. Recurrence for this group is generally once a year and unrecognized reactivation are lower as well. Recurrent outbreaks are different from first episodes. They don't include flu-like symptoms and swollen glands in lymph nodes near the groin, but they'll still involve small sores or blisters and break or irregularities in the skin. Healing usually takes only half the time as first episodes.

It's common for sufferers of genital herpes to have no symptoms, unrecognized symptoms, or to mistake their symptoms for other issues. A herpes virus that becomes active without producing symptoms is called asymptomatic shedding and subclinical shedding. Some people don't notice their symptoms because lesions can be very small and occur in unseen spots. Some people mistake genital herpes outbreaks for insect bites, jock itch, abrasions or razor burn, yeast infections, hemorrhoids, or ingrown hair follicles.

Genital herpes can present a number of serious complications. If a recurrent outbreak coincides with labor, the virus can be passed to an infant during delivery and a caesarean section must be performed to prevent this from happening. However, a first episode of genital herpes during pregnancy is serious. Infection of the unborn child is more likely and the chance of premature birth rises. Half of all infected infants either die or suffer nerve damage.

Certain medications such as steroid-based drugs and immunological diseases can hinder the immune system's ability to fight the virus. HIV infected individuals have more severe breakouts because their immune system is weak and the herpes virus is likely to spread to other areas in the body. Open sores caused by genital herpes can also facilitate the transmission of HIV to others.

Researches believe that genital herpes may play a role in the development of cervical cancer. Genital herpes can also cause aseptic meningitis with symptoms that include fevers, headaches and inflammation of the brain tissue. Aseptic meningitis usually goes way without treatment in five to fifteen days, but can develop into encephalitis. Last, but not least, the emotional complications of the disease can be devastating. A loss of self-esteem, doubt and depression are common in individuals that have problems coping with their disease. Relationships may also suffer due to avoidance, blame, accusations and suspicion.

Summary

Infections caused by herpes simplex virus are now a wide-spread problem. More than ten million people in the United States suffer with genital herpes, and many more suffer with labial herpes. Both labial and genital herpes are highly contagious when active sores are present. While these diseases can be treated and cared for, there is no cure. Given the permanent consequences of these diseases and potential for serious complications, more preventive measures need to be taken to educate the public about how to reduce their chances of contracting these infections.

Bibliography

Cold Sores." WebMD Health. 08 Apr. 2003. http://my.webmd.com/content/healthwise/117/29189.htm?lastselectedguid={5FE84E90-BC77-4056-A91C-9531713CA348}

Herpes Infections: Symptoms and Treatment." The University of New Mexico Student

Health Center. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.unm.edu/~shc1/herpes.html.

Herpes Simplex Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors." 1UP Health. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.1uphealth.com/health/herpes_simplex_info.html.

Herpes Virus Complications." About-Genital-Herpes.com. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.about-genital-herpes.com/html/potential-complications-of-hsv.php3.

National Herpes Resource Center. American Social Health Association. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.ashastd.org/hrc/hrcsymptoms.html

Herpes Simplex Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors." 1UP Health. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.1uphealth.com/health/herpes_simplex_info.html.

Cold Sores." WebMD Health. 08 Apr. 2003. http://my.webmd.com/content/healthwise/117/29189.htm?lastselectedguid={5FE84E90-BC77-4056-A91C-9531713CA348}

Herpes Simplex Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors." 1UP Health. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.1uphealth.com/health/herpes_simplex_info.html.

National Herpes Resource Center. American Social Health Association. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.ashastd.org/hrc/hrcsymptoms.html

Herpes Virus Complications." About-Genital-Herpes.com. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.about-genital-herpes.com/html/potential-complications-of-hsv.php3.

Herpes Infections: Symptoms and Treatment." The University of New Mexico Student Health Center. 08 Apr. 2003. http://www.unm.edu/~shc1/herpes.html. [END OF PREVIEW]

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