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Herpes simplex virus and varicella zoster virus, the house guests who never leave

Paul R Kinchington12, Anthony J St Leger13, Jean-Marc G Guedon12 and Robert L Hendricks123*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

2 Department of Molecular Genetics & Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

3 Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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Herpesviridae 2012, 3:5  doi:10.1186/2042-4280-3-5

Published: 12 June 2012


Human alphaherpesviruses including herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1, HSV-2) and varicella zoster virus (VZV) establish persistent latent infection in sensory neurons for the life of the host. All three viruses have the potential to reactivate causing recurrent disease. Regardless of the homology between the different virus strains, the three viruses are characterized by varying pathologies. This review will highlight the differences in infection pattern, immune response, and pathogenesis associated with HSV-1 and VZV.

Alphaherpesvirus; Herpes Simplex Virus; HSV; Varicella Zoster Virus; VZV; Immunity; Pathogenesis