Latest Research on Herpes in 2013
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2010), approximately 776,000 people within the United States are initially infected with one of the two forms of the herpes simplex virus every year. Herpes viruses can infect skin cells in addition to the cervical and other genital tract linings. A 2006 study estimated that approximately 60 percent of Americans, of both genders, between 14 and 49 years of age carry the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). This is the virus that causes cold sores.
The CDC national health data (2010) also suggests that around 16.0% of Americans, in the above age range, are infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The latter virus is an incurable, lifetime infection, which can cause recurring, painful genital sores. Individuals who have HSV-2 are two to three times as likely to contract HIV, the virus known to cause AIDS.
Transmission, Treatment, and Prevention
Typically, the only way an individual can contract a herpes simplex virus type 2 infection is by having close sexual contact with someone who already has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission can happen from an infected partner who does not have any visible sores. This person may not even be aware that they are infected.
Some herpes infections actually respond quite well to the drug Acyclovir. This is an antiviral medication that helps prevent herpes outbreaks from coming back and decreases the risks of transmitting the infection to others. However, many patients suffer from herpes infections that do not respond well to this drug. New methods for the suppression and/or treatment of herpes infections are definitely required.
Currently, there is no effective vaccine to guard against contracting genital herpes. There are some antiviral medications available on the market that can be of some benefit in the treatment of HSV-2 infections. The best prevention against herpes is the use of condoms. However, with both medication and condoms, the virus often breaks through the barrier, and people can still transmit an infection, caused by the genital herpes virus, to sexual partners.
Neonatal herpes is one of the main infections transmitted, from mother to child, as the baby moves down the birth canal during the course of delivery. The actual incidence of herpes simplex virus type 2 infections is approximately one in every 10,000 live births occurring within the US. As a result, an effective genital herpes vaccine is desperately needed to eliminate this complication of a woman’s HSV-2 infection (Rudnick & Hoekzema, 2002).
If you suspect that you may have been exposed to either the HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus, you can get a confidential consultation, as well as expert medical advice, from a health care professional like a doctor. They can prescribe antiviral drugs by using one of the many prescription websites. Hopefully, an antiviral medication will effectively treat your herpes infection.
Scientists Identify Immune Cells that Suppress Genital Herpes
In May of this year, ScienceDaily published an article concerning the fact that immune cells which suppress and contain infections caused by the genital herpes virus have been identified. American research scientist Dr. Zhu and associates have discovered a category of immune cells, known as CD8αα+ T cells, which survive within the skin and mucous membranes of the genital area on a long term basis. They are thought to be responsible for the suppression of recurrent genital herpes episodes. These particular immune cells play an additional role in the suppression of genital herpes symptoms. This suppression is the main reason most sufferers have no apparent symptoms when flare-ups take place.
The discovery of this subcategory of immune cells gives experts hope that an effective vaccine to prevent/treat HSV-2 can soon be developed. Identifying these cells' exact molecular destinations is the logical next part in this process.
Additional knowledge of recently discovered immune cells could perhaps help medical scientists develop more vaccines to prevent other types of skin and mucous membrane infections.
As a result of this discovery, researchers are now aware of the types of immune cells the body utilizes to prevent herpes outbreaks as well as contain the majority of subsequent episodes of HSV-2. If scientists can figure out a way to elevate the efficiency of these immune cells, a herpes infection could possibly be confined to the point of entry and/or even stopped from spreading initially. In addition, these immune cells may prevent the occurrence of other kinds of viral infections such as HIV.
A herpes infection initially develops within the CD8αα+ T cells. Long term perseverance of these cells might account for many of the asymptomatic flare-ups of genital herpes since these cells recognize and get rid of the virus on an ongoing basis. These recently discovered immune cells perform both close observation and containment of the virus within the key area where the infection occurs. Unique technologies, for examining the immune cells found within human tissue, were used to complete this research. This scientific breakthrough provides valuable information that will be applied to other human diseases in the future.
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