- Genital herpes
- A viral infection transmitted through intimate contact with the moist mucous linings of the genitals. This contact can involve the mouth, the vagina or the genital skin. The herpes simplex type 2 virus enters the mucous membranes through microscopic tears. Once inside, the virus travels to nerve the roots near the spinal cord and settles there permanently. When an infected person has a herpes outbreak, the virus travels down the nerve fibers to the site of the original infection and when it reaches the skin, the classic redness and blisters occur. The outbreak of herpes is closely related to the functioning of the immune system. Women who have suppressed immune systems, either through stress, disease, or medications, have more frequent and longer-lasting outbreaks. Commonly just called "herpes."
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* * *herpes genitalis, genital herpes simplex herpes simplex in the genital region, seen in both males and females; it is caused mainly by human herpesvirus 2, but also may be caused by human herpesvirus 1, and is transmitted primarily sexually via genital secretions, and contact with viroids. Although symptoms in the female are more severe than in the male, the vesicular lesions are self-limited. Genital herpes at term in the pregnant female may lead to infection of the neonate that can progress from localized to disseminated disease that often results in death of the baby. Called also progenital h. and h. progenitalis.
Medical dictionary. 2011.