FOCUS ON: Acquisition and Transmission of Herpes

May 2005 | Volume 4 | Issue 3 | Feature | 378 | Copyright © 2005

Craig G. Burkhart MPH MD


Present dogma is based on herpesviruses (HSV-1 and HSV–2) residing only in the dorsal root ganglion and laying dormant unless reactivated. Polymerase chain reaction has improved specificity and sensitivity so that tenets based on previous methodologies can be questioned. On point, negative serology, such as with anti-glycoprotein G protein antibodies for HSV-1 and HSV-2, does not rule out the presence of herpes. Indeed, exposure to the virus is probably universal, with individuals displaying varied immunological responses to the herpesviruses. There is a bimodal temporal distribution of herpetic reactivation, explained by the existence of the virus in the epidermis as well as in the dorsal root ganglion. Additionally, herpes may share a symbiotic relationship with humans, in which the body actually retains the virus within numerous body organs for its possible anti-cancer properties.

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