Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1, also known as oral herpes (HSV-1), causes sores around the mouth and lips which are known as fever blisters or cold sores. HSV-1 is a highly contagious infection, which is common and endemic throughout the world. Most HSV-1 infections are acquired during childhood, and infection is lifelong.


HSV-1 is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact to cause oral herpes infection, via contact with the HSV-1 virus in sores, saliva, and surfaces in or around the mouth. HSV-1 can be transmitted from oral or skin surfaces that appear normal and when there are no symptoms present. However, the greatest risk of transmission is when there are active sores.


Oral herpes infection is asymptomatic for most infected individuals. As a result, the majority of people with HSV-1 infection are unaware of the infection. Symptoms of oral herpes include:

  • painful blisters or open sores called ulcers in or around the mouth
  • Tingling, itching or burning sensation around their mouth
  • Sores around the genitals and anus (in rare cases)

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