Herpes Gladiatorum is a herpes infection that occurs amongst wrestlers and other athletes in contact sports involving skin to skin contact, which I encounter in my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices. HSV-1 (the type that causes orolabial herpes) is the type of herpes virus, which most commonly causes Herpes Gladiatorum. 90% of all outbreaks are on the head and neck due to grappling. The forearm is also very commonly affected. It is estimated that 1/3 of all susceptible wrestlers can get infected after one match with another wrestler who has an active herpes lesion. It is unclear if wrestlers can acquire herpes from the mats but it is recommended that the mats be disinfected daily. Wrestlers with herpes should refrain from wrestling for at least one week after the active lesions have resolved and should be on Valacyclovir suppressive therapy during the wrestling season.
April 9, 2013
Medically reviewed by Anthony J. Perri, M.D.
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