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Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 

Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2
Chapter:
Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198729228.003.0076
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date: 19 November 2019

Human herpesvirus 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7) are closely related herpesviruses that cause a similar spectrum of disease. Infection is acquired early in life. The fact infants are infected so early in life suggests that infection within families is the most likely source. The mean incubation period for HHV-6 and 7 is 5–15 days. Exanthem subitum (also known as roseola infantum) is the classical clinical syndrome associated with HHV-6. Most young children with acute HHV-6/7 infection, however, do not present with classical exanthem subitum, but with a high fever (lasting 3–5 days), coryza, and signs of an upper respiratory tract infection. Both HHV-6 and 7 have also been associated with febrile seizures and encephalitis. In most cases, no laboratory diagnosis is made, or the child has recovered by the time a diagnosis is made, but HHV-6/7 can be detected in most body fluids using polymerase chain reaction or viral culture. Usually only symptomatic treatment is needed; however, in immunocompromised patients, treatment with foscarnet or ganciclovir appears to suppress the HHV-6 viral load. Recently, artesunate, the antimalarial drug, has been used to treat HHV-6 myocarditis in children. Further research is needed to identify those children, both normal hosts and those who are immunocompromised, who require treatment for HHV-6/7 infection and what the most appropriate treatment is.

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