Herpes name was derived from the Greek word “herpein”, which means “to creep” or “creeping”. This was named so, due to its recurrent and contagious infections in human and animals. Herpes virus if the affiliated family member of Herpes viradae, which is a broad member of DNA. The two broadly known categories of Herpes virus are Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus-2 (HSV-2). Herpes Zoster is responsible for Shingles, which is the same virus that causes Chicken Pox. Evidences have shown that Herpes has not only affected humans, but also animals.
Herpes in Animals
The most common Herpes virus found in animals is from the Alpha herpes virinae subfamily. PrV or Pseudo rabies Virus was researched in depth to discover the method of controlling the infections using genetic modification of vaccines. The latency of molecular mechanisms of the Bovine Herpes Virus -1 is under study to eliminate the factors leading to herpes in animals.
Herpes in Human
Oral herpes and Genital herpes are the most common types in humans, but there exists 8 different types of Herpes virus that affects human. The types and its mode of transmission is explained below,
- HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus-1) – Transmitted by close contact with an infected person
- HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus -2) – Transmitted by close contact and penetrative sexual intercourse with a person
- The VSV (Varicella Zoster Virus) – Transmitted through direct contact and breathe of the infected person
- The EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) – Transmitted through saliva of the infected person
- The CMV (Cytomegalovirus) – Transmitted by contact, sexual intercourse, organ transplant and blood transfusion from an infected person
- The Herpes lymphotropic virus – Airborne transmission through the respiratory system of the infected
- HHV-7 (human Herpes Virus -7)– Mode of transmission in humans is still undefined
- KSHV (Kaposi’s Sarcoma associated Herpes Virus) also known as HHV-8 (Human Herpes Virus -8)- Transmitted through bodily fluids like; saliva, semen and blood.
Statistical Data on Herpes
The below statistical data corresponds to the spread of Herpes in the United States alone.
- Average of 4-5 outbreaks occurs annually, where genital herpes infections are predominant.
- About 5 million Americans are infected with Herpes Virus
- Almost half a million new infection are detected every year
- 80% of the Herpes infections are due to HSV-2 and recurrent infections are more likely to occur in these individuals
- 50% of the infected population is due to HSV-1, which is likely to reoccur
- Studies show that almost 90% of the population is affected by oral herpes while only 20% has genital herpes.
- Almost 25% of the infected population has an active Herpes virus on the skin
- Two genital Herpes cases are recorded every minute
- It has been estimated that, with the rise in infections, almost half the population is likely suffer from Herpes
- About two third of the persons who contact herpes are of the age 25 and below
- With the increase in infections in the younger population, it is estimated that about one fourth of the total population will contact the disease
The rise in infections amongst the youngsters is growing due to the increase in sexual behavior. Teenagers are prone to Herpes and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs) due to little awareness about safe sexual practices. The risk of transmitting the Herpes virus to the child during pregnancy is higher if there are herpes outbreaks in the later trimesters. It is good to be aware of the symptoms of Herpes and get it treated in time. Although it’s a fact the Herpes is incurable, prevention is always better than cure!
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