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Description Of The Microbe

Description of the Microbe

Herpes Simplex is a DNA virus, causing the most common Sexually transmitted disease: Herpes. For about 100 million years, Herpesviruses has been infecting vertebrates (Evolutionary Origins of Human Herpes Simplex Viruses 1 and 2). Herpesviruses produce 70 to 200 specialized proteins that help them survive and reproduce in body of the host cell (Herpes). Herpesviruses can be found anywhere on planet earth, with no restrictions to race, sex, ethnicity. It was about 8 million years ago that the great apes and humans diverged. This divergence lead to development of 2 different but closely related viruses known as Herpes Simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). Even though both, the Herpes Simplex virus 1(HSV-1) and the Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2) can cause infection in oral or genital area; the mode of entry decides first outbreak event of infection. Outbreak Events can range from fever blisters or cold sores around either genital or the oral area (Herpes). Humans have 8 variants of herpesviruses naturally built-in, so they can live inside the body without causing any trouble. Problem arises when an infected variant comes in contact with naturally built-in variant. Therefore herpesviruses can survive an individual’s lifetime without any worries, until it comes in contact with infected variant (Herpes).

Discussion of Infection Mechanisms

Herpes Simplex virus infects the point of delivery (Oral or genital), of infected cells. Since the signs of infection are common, the first outbreak event cannot dictate exactly if the infection was caused by Herpes Simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) or Herpes Simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). It is through clinical test, that the exact virus version can be detected (Who guidelines). But typically it is seen that HSV-1 is more likely to cause infection near facial region as compared to HSV-2. On the contrary, HSV-2 is more likely to cause infections in the genital area, than HSV-1 (Manual of Dermatologic thrapeutics).

HSV-1 mostly leads to oral herpes infection. One does not need oral sex to get HSV-1 infection, a non sexual contact with infected saliva can lead to HSV-1 infection. However HSV-1 can easily be transmited to genitals through oral sex. Although both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are infectitous diseases, HSV-1 is less severe than HSV-2 (WHO guidlenines). Oral, Anal, or vaginal sex are the main contributors to spread of HSV-2 from an infected individual to non-infected individual. With increasing number of sexual interactions during young adulthood, the likelihood of getting infected with HSV-2 increases. With increased chances of getting HSV-2 infection, chances of HIV disease increase dramatically; further causing eye, lung or brain infections.


Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 infections do not have a set clinical symptoms. Some individuals might see a lot and some might not even have a hint that they are infected with Herpes Simplex virus. Even though HSV-1 and HSV-2 target different areas of the body, their symptoms might overlap. Some of the common symptoms include itchy and red skin, fever, headache, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms ( In addition to these, HSV-2 symptoms might include aseptic meningitis and/or urinary retention. Also, an individual with HSV-2 might experience blisters around genital area. HSV-1 infection can also be identified with cold sores on the lip. If an individual gets multiple cold sores, with higher frequency, and taking more than 2 weeks to recover from a cold sore, are some of the indications that an individual is HSV-1 infected (optimal management of genital herpes:current ).


HSV-2 is a common problem in modern day world. Number of Individuals infected with herpes has increases more than 10 times in 2010 as compared to number of individuals infected in 1980’s. In 2012 about 19.2 million individuals with age ranging between 15-49 years old got infected with HSV-2. The highest number of infections were found in African regions, followed by American region, Western Pacific, and south-east Asian regions. It was noted that in all these regions, number of females infected with HSV-2 virus was high as compared to males infected with HSV-2. This implies that women are more prone to HSV-2 infection as compared to men (Who guidelines).

One reason behind increasing number of herpes simplex infections is the fact that some individuals are not even aware if they are infected. This might be because the symptoms they might have are not noticeable. For a fact, 1 in 5 American is infected by herpes. With such a statistically high ratio of infected individuals to non-infected, explains why herpes is growing at a face pace in United States. Second reason for herpes growth might be increasing number of young adults engaging in multiple sexual interactions. Mating with multiple partners, puts an individual at a higher chance of getting infected. Third reason behind herpes epidemic could be the infected individuals themselves. When Infected Individuals engage in sexual interactions, thinking that they are contagious only during their outbreak is a big mistake. Even if the individuals have no symptoms of outbreak, the virus can still spread because of genital sexual activity. Therefore, an individual with herpes should engage in sexual interaction with proper protection (Herpes).


Herpes Simplex virus is a DNA viral disease which replicates at a fast pace. Herpes simplex infection is not only found in young adults, but also in new born babies whose mother is infected. With weak immune system, Herpes simplex infection can prove to be lethal for small babies. Whereas some might never experience it. Even though there is no cure for Herpes, there are treatments which can help control the outbreak and decrease the pain. Anti-viral prescription medicinecan help ease discomfort casued by an Outbreak. Even though the first outbreak is not deadly, it still is very discomforting. Hence using anti-viral ointments for cold sores or blisters can help by speeding up the healing process. But by covering the blisters with thick layer of ointment would worsen it. Hence application routine suggested by the doctor should be followed. For genital infection, taking warm water bath helps sooth infected areas. By using proper hygiene in everyday life, the infection would heal faster. To prevent any friction against infected areas, it is recommended to wear cotton undergarments (Herpes). If for some reason, anti-inflamatory drugs or salicylates do not work for an individual, in such case use of opiates might be required. To help calm burning sensation from lesions, cool compress with tap water can be used. In case of oral herpes, it is recommended that proper oral hygiene is performed to prevent any secondary bacterial superinfections (manual of derma).


Even though there is no cure for Herpes simplex, a couple of precautions can help lower the chances of getting infected. First method that can be used is by keeping proper record of medical history of patients and supposedly if the patient decides to have kids, some techniques can be used to prevent spread of infection to the baby. Second approach is, if an individual engages in sexual activity often its best to visit a doctor and get examined for any infections. The best technique to test HSV is use of viral culture, which produces positive results in about 48 hours. Immunofluorescent can be used to differentiate between HSV-1 and HSV-2. PCR can also be used in determining possibility of HSV, due to its fast and sensitive technique (155 Derma journal). Third, if someone close becomes infected; it is extremely important that infected individual if provided with mental support. Physical damage can heal over time, but if the individual is not treated the same way before infection; he/she might feel undesirable. This might lead the individual to become socially withdrawn, which makes it hard for the individual to live in the society. Therefore, with other treatment methods, psychological support will give the infected individual confidence to feel accepted by the society (68 Herpes). Finally, being honest about HSV status in a relationship can prevent the spread of this infection (optimal management). Plus, supposedly an individual is infected, even in absence of symptoms of outbreak it is the best practice to always use protection while having sex. With help of modern day technology and protective measures in everyday life, Herpes is easily preventable.

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I’m a freelance writer with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Boston University. My work has been featured in publications like the L.A. Times, U.S. News and World Report, Farther Finance, Teen Vogue, Grammarly, The Startup, Mashable, Insider, Forbes, Writer (formerly Qordoba), MarketWatch, CNBC, and USA Today, among others.