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Herpes Facts

The Differences Between HSV-1 and HSV2

Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1): commonly causes oral herpes, cold sores or fever blisters (herpes labialis). These are highly infectious open sores that crust over before healing. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes as a result of oral sex. The frequency and severity of genital herpes recurrences caused by HSV-1 virus is not as severe as HSV-2.

Herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2): a contagious sexually transmitted viral infection primarily causing genital herpes in men and women. Signs of genital herpes include recurrent clusters of blisters, bumps and rashes in the genital and rectal areas. HSV-2 can also be responsible for oral herpes, although less frequently than HSV-1.

Structure of the Virus

Virus Image

The HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses look identical through an electron microscope. The glycoprotein G (gG) protein allows for distinction between HSV-1 and HSV-2. Serologic tests that use gG-based technology are recommended for accurate classification of HSV-1 antibodies from HSV-2.

HerpeSelect lab tests use gG technology.

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