Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a member of the Herpesviridae family,
a diverse group of double-stranded DNA, lipid-enveloped virions responsible
for a wide variety of common human infections. Herpes simplex virus types
1 and 2 and the closely related varicella-zoster virus (VZV) make up the Alphaherpesvirinae
virus subfamily. Infections caused by Alphaherpes virus are characterized
by mucoepidermal and neural tropism and result in the typical clinical presentations
of vesicular lesions and sensory nerve involvement and latency within dorsal
root ganglia. Herpes simplex virus type 1 is most frequently associated with
nongenital disease, while HSV type 2 is responsible for 90% of urogenital
disease. Genital HSV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases
in the United States, with HSV type 2 seropositivity detected in approximately
1 of 5 persons 12 years of age or older.1
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