Herpes simplex virus infection

Keywords: HSV infection, HSV, Genital herpes

Infection Sites

Appropriate Tests


Clinical diagnosis, tests not usually required.

If infection is atypical, severe or recurrent: Virus detection, culture - lesion swab or vesicle fluid.

Culture or PCR will distinguish HSV types I and II.

Although the diagnosis can be established by lesion biopsy, this should be avoided if possible as it may exacerbate the infection.

Herpes simplex Ab (serum, CSF) are seldom useful

See also Sexually transmitted diseases

Cutaneous, especially

  • Genital
  • Whitlow


Ocular, especially

  • Keratitis


See Keratoconjunctivitis


Oesophageal biopsy may be necessary to distinguish HSV infection from Candidiasis, CMV infection.


Virus detection, culture - CSF (including nucleic acid probe after PCR).

Herpes simplex Ab (serum, CSF) are of little value. Brain biopsy is not indicated.

See also Encephalitis.


Usually only in neonates, immunodeficient patients.

See Immunodeficiency.


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