Viruses – Herpes Overview

October 9th, 2010

The Herpes virus group is an extremely common family of viruses that is responsible for a myriad rashes, which I encounter on a daily basis in my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices.  The types of viruses in this group are Herpes Simplex-1, Herpes Simplex-2, Varicella Zoster Virus, Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr Virus, Human Herpes Virus-6, Human Herpes Virus-7, Human Herpes Virus-8, Herpes virus simiae (B virus).  These viruses are composed of double stranded DNA and their hallmark is the ability to remain dormant for years as they incorporate themselves into human DNA in immune protected cells such as nerves and immune cells.  Thus, once a person is infected it is a life long infection since these “immune protected” cells are essentially untouchable by our bodies defenses.  At certain times, the viruses enter a replication cycle in which they proliferate.  They usually infect areas of our body conducive to transmission to others such as the oral mucosa, lips, and genital skin.