Evidence of Latency and Reactivation of Both Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-1 and HSV-2 in the Genital Region

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While superinfection with different herpes simplex virus (HSV) types has been demonstrated in animals, the ability of the two HSV types to colonize and reactivate in the same anatomic region in humans has not been well demonstrated. In 6 patients, both HSV-1 and HSV-2 was recovered from genital lesions. In 4 of them, who initially acquired genital HSV-1 infection, subsequent HSV-2 infection presented as a prolonged episode of genital lesions and a marked increase in the frequency of genital recurrences. While most of the subsequent clinical reactivations were HSV-2, in 2 patients the recurrence rate of genital HSV-1 increased after the acquisition of HSV-2. These data demonstrate the ability of a second HSV type to infect the same anatomic region and illustrate the difference in reactivation frequency of the two types in the same person. Typing of HSV isolates may be useful in persons with recent alteration in recurrence rates of genital HSV.

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