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Overview of Herpesvirus Infections

By

Kenneth M. Kaye

, MD, Harvard Medical School

Last full review/revision Sep 2021| Content last modified Oct 2021
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Some common viral infections are caused by herpesviruses. Eight different herpesviruses infect people:

Did You Know...

  • All of the herpesviruses cause lifelong infection because the virus remains dormant in some of the cells it infects.

All of the herpesviruses cause lifelong infection because the virus remains within its host cell in an inactive (dormant or latent) state. Sometimes the virus reactivates and produces further episodes of disease. Symptoms from reactivation can be different than the symptoms of the initial infection. Reactivation may occur rapidly or many years after the initial infection. (See also Overview of Viral Infections Overview of Viral Infections A virus is composed of nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat. It requires a living cell in which to multiply. A viral infection can lead to a spectrum of symptoms from... read more .)

Treatment of Herpesvirus Infections

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
VALCYTE
VALTREX
VIROPTIC
DENAVIR
FAMVIR
CYTOVENE
ZOVIRAX
FOSCAVIR
VISTIDE
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