Outbreaks of both types of herpes simplex alternate with periods when the virus lies dormant in the nerve cells. The reappearance of blisters may be triggered by such factors as fever, infectious diseases, exposure to sunlight, menstruation, or pregnancy. The blisters usually last from 10 to 14 days. Treatment for recurrent herpes includes elimination of the precipitating conditions, local antibiotic treatment to prevent bacterial infection, and treatment with antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, although some resistant strains (see drug resistance ) have developed. There is no cure. The herpes simplex virus is also the cause of a form of viral encephalitis .
See also herpes zoster (shingles).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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