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Blisters form on the lips, and may also form on the tongue.
The virus is transmitted mostly by sexual contact, and it is possible to spread it when one is feeling perfectly well.The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a double-stranded DNA virus with an enveloped, icosahedral capsid.It is a common cause of infections of the skin and mucous membranes, manifesting itself as tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters usually around the mouth or genitals.The virus infects more than 40 million Americans between the ages of 15 and 75, and in extreme cases, can appear in and about the eyes, esophagus, trachea, brain, and arms and legs (see below).HSV has a great impact on human health globally due to its high prevalence, successful sexual transmissibility rate, association with immunocompromised patients, and ability to cause recurrent disease (-herpesviruses (having a broad host range).Although HSV-1 is mainly localized around the oral region and HSV-2 around the genital region, it is quite possible to transmit the virus to either region, from either region, resulting in painful sores; the virus in incurable.
Upon entering the body through oral or genital transmission, HSV penetrates the nerve cells (primary sensory neurons) in the lower layers of human skin tissue and replicates itself in the cell nuclei, thus destroying host cells.
After destruction of the nerve cells, blisters and inflammation present itself in the region where the virus was contracted, oral or genital.
Towards the end of the visible infection (3-14 days), viral particles are carried from the skin through the branches of nerve cells to ganglia, where the virus persists in a latent form until it recurs in an active, visible form (The recurrence rate of HSV-1(recurrent herpes) after the initial flare-up (primary herpes) is 20% to 40%, while the recurrence rate of HSV-2 is much higher at 80%.
Men experience 20% more recurrences of genital herpes than women, even though symptoms in males are milder and shorter.
Reactivation causes recurrent disease (oral or genital herpes), but most often it leads to shedding of infectious virus from the skin or mucous membranes, thus leading to further transmission of the virus.
Transmission is usually accomplished when unrecognized or asymptomatic viral shedding is occurring.