People with genital herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infections, which often cause herpes, frequently shed the virus in the first months after infection, increasing their risk of having herpes. You can pass the virus on to your sex partner during this time.
However, researchers from the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine in Seattle found a reduction in hair loss rates during the first year.
“The findings suggest that infection with genital HSV-1 is quite different from genital HSV-2, as it is fundamentally less severe both in terms of recurrence and shedding. With HSV-2, we continue to see high shedding rates for many years after the first episode,” said Dr. Christine Johnston, associate professor of allergy and infectious diseases. Johnston is lead author of the study. The article was published in October. 22 by JAMA.
In the past, HSV-1 was mainly associated with blisters and sores on the lips commonly known as herpes or fever blisters and herpes simplex. virus type 2 (HSV-2), a closely related virus, is the main cause of genital herpes. But that has changed over the past few decades, and today HSV-1 is the leading cause of new genital herpes infections in many parts of the world.
In recent decades, fewer and fewer people have been infected with HSV-1 in childhood, making them more susceptible to infection during sexual activity.
Most genital herpes infections are acquired without symptoms. But when symptoms do occur, they can include blisters and sores on the genitals that often cause pain, fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, and other flu-like symptoms. Infection can also cause emotional sufferingbecause the patient can feel social stigma associated with infection and concerns about passing the virus on to their sexual partners and, if they are about to give birth, to their infant.
In the new study, Johnston and colleagues sought to better understand the course of genital infection with HSV-1 and how Immune System answer. Although HSV-1 is known to be less likely to cause genital symptoms than HSV-2, this is the first study to comprehensively examine oral and genital HSV-1 generation by using a highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay.
They enrolled 82 men and women who had been diagnosed with HSV-1 in their first genitalia. Fifty-four (66%) are women and 28 (34%) are men. Their ages ranged from 16 to 64 years old, with an average age of 26. Antibody studies indicated that about half of the participants had been previously infected with HSV-1.
To detect hair loss, participants swabbed their own mouths and genitals daily for 30 days, two and 11 months after their first episode of genital HSV-1. The swabs were tested for the presence of HSV-1. Blood samples were also collected at some point during the study to analyze the participants’ immune response to the infection. The registrants took an antiviral drug to treat their early stages but agreed not to take treatments to suppress the virus while the samples were collected.
The number of days the participants eliminated the virus varied. Some participants had no detectable virus at all, but infection was relatively common after two months, with participants clearing HSV-1 over 12% of the days. However, at 11 months, the rate has dropped to 7% of days. In most cases, participants show no symptoms even though they are shedding the virus.
Participants who shed at least 10% of the days at 11 months performed an additional 30 days of cotton swabs two years after their first infection. In this group, the rate of shelling decreased even further, to 1.3% of days. Despite the small sample size, this rate was significantly lower than with HSV-2, where shedding occurred at about 34% of days in the first year and remained at 17% of days for 10 years. In parallel with the shedding, the recurrences are also infrequent, with an average of one recurrence within the first year of infection.
“I think patients can feel reassured that with an HSV-1 infection on the genitals, you have less hair loss and a lower risk of transmitting the virus than with HSV infection,” says Johnston. -2.
Analysis of the viruses sampled and the participants’ immune responses to the infection did not explain why shedding rates varied between participants. But hair loss is more common in people for whom it is a newly acquired infection.
Patients who lack antibodies to HSV-1 and -2 when first diagnosed with genital herpes should be advised to expect more frequent hair loss, Johnston says, and they may be a response. candidate for suppressive antiviral therapy during the first year of infection.
And while infant herpes is rare, it can be devastating, she adds. The finding that hair loss is common in the first months after infection highlights the importance of identifying pregnant women at high risk for HSV-1 infection so that preventive steps can be taken to avoid infection.
The JAMA The article was powered by an editorial, “Conversion Patterns of genital herpes simplex virus infection”, Richard J. Whitley and Edward W. Hook, Heersink School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham They discuss the potential clinical and research implications of this finding.
The JAMA article titled “Virus evolution 1 year after initial HSV-1 infection.”
Christine Johnston et al., Virus shedding 1 year after initial genital HSV-1 infection, JAMA (In 2022). DOI: 10.1001 / jama.2022.19061
Richard J. Whitley et al., Developmental models of simplex genital herpes infection, JAMA (In 2022). DOI: 10.1001 / jama.2022.18930
University of Washington School of Medicine
Quote: Virus outbreak over time with genital infection HSV-1 (2022, October 24) retrieved October 24, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-viral- ebbs-hsv-genital-infiles.html
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