BACKGROUND: Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, which affects millions of people worldwide, and is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Recent data has shown that in a large proportion of genital herpes, there has been a shift from HSV type 2 (HSV-2) to to HSV type 1 (HS V-1) being the main cause. OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to study the types of virus and clinical patterns of patients with genital herpes in Korea METHODS: We investigated the clinical patterns and virus types of 13 patients with genital herpes using indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) after viral culture, and/or nested-multiplex polymerase chain reaction (NM-PCR). RESULTS: Of the 13 patients, HSV-1 was isolated in 2 patients (15.4%), HSV-2 in 7 patients (53.8%), and mixed infection with both HSV-1 and HSV-2 in 4 patients (30.8%). Recurrence of lesions was found to occur when the patient had HSV-2 or a mixed infection, but not the HSV-1 infection. Of 5 patients who underwent IIF and NM-PCR simultaneously, the virus was detected by NM-PCR only, not by IIF after viral culture, in 2 of the patients. CONCLUSION: HSV-1 infection as a cause of genital herpes is increasing, but recurrence is more common in HSV-2 infection. This study demonstrates that HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be detected simutaneously in the same anatomic region of genital herpes, and that NM-PCR is a more sensitive method for the detection and typing of HSV than IIF after viral culture.
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