Epidemic Outbreak of Herpes

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Epidemic Outbreak of “The Herpes Virus” (Assignment #1) Herpes is an infection caused by the etiologic agents Herpes Simplex Virus-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is the type generally known for causing oral herpes outbreaks, also known as cold sores or fever blisters. These blisters last from a week to a month, becoming open sores that crust over with scabs. The outbreak following the initial infection (usually a few days to a few weeks afterward) is usually the worst—the ones after that are less painful. Some people actually confuse their mild outbreaks with other skin conditions such as “eczema”. Early after infection, some people experience prodrome, a tingling, itching feeling that occurs in an area where blisters will shortly develop. Contrary to popular belief, both types can cause genital herpes (Osondu). Transmission is made during contact with a sore or fluid from an infected person, including fetal infection during birth when sores are present on the mother. The reservoirs of the virus are typically ocular, oral, or genital epithelial cells (Hodge). Herpes Virus Infections have been prevalent as early as ancient Greek times. Hippocrates is known to have described the cutaneous spreading of herpes simplex lesions and scholars of Greek civilization define the greek word "herpes" to mean "to creep or crawl" in reference the spreading nature of the herpetic skin lesions. Even Shakespeare is thought to have been familiar with recurrent herpes simplex lesions and their transmission. In Romeo and Juliet, he writes Queen Mab to say "O'er ladies lips, who straight on kisses dream, which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are." Nonetheless, it was not until 1893 when Vidal recognized that human transmission of Herpes Simplex infection from one individual to another. During the twentieth century, HSV research blossomed.

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