If you think oral herpes and genital herpes is all that is caused by the two different types of herpes viruses, think again. There are almost 100 known variants of herpes viruses. Don’t get sacred as not all can infect human beings. Out of the 100 herpes viruses available, luckily or unluckily eight infect humans. Although compared to 100, eight is just a small number, but, looking at it rationally, the two most common viruses are more than enough to cause much destruction. Yes, the world is going mad at oral and genital herpes and scientists also are working hard to find a solution to both. However, it is important you get a clear and complete picture about herpes family of viruses. Many a times, you might get informed that there are two types of herpes viruses that infect human body. The truth is that they are extremely widespread and apart from them, there are 6 other types that cause different category of diseases. You will be astonished to know that some of these are life threatening for AIDS patients.
The name “herpes” comes from the Greek ‘herpein’, which means, “to creep.” The name itself describes the chronic, latent, or recurrent nature of the infections caused by different type of herpes viruses. Let us first see all the eight types of herpes viruses and then we will also take a look at all the available treatment options.
HSV 1: Herpes simplex virus type one needs no introduction with every one in five adults struggling from oral herpes in the United States. Herpes simplex type is believed to cause oral herpes. It is an irreversible condition that has no cure in allopathy. Doctors prescribe antiviral drugs to help the patients but there is no permanent relief in modern medicine. Oral herpes is a sexually transmitted infection in which the person infected develops sores around the lips and nose. Sometimes, even the tongue gets affected. Most people naturally acquire HSV-1 by the age of one or two and carry the virus with them for the rest of their lives. Whether it lies dormant or you get frequent cold sores will depend on you immune system. This was considered to be not so dangerous till the cases of eye infection resulting in blindness were reported by the infection with HSV 1. Further research in this field has shown the virus causing genital herpes as well.
HSV 2: HSV 2 is also known by everyone as it causes genital herpes. When HSV 2 is present on the surface of the skin of an infected person, it can easily pass on to another person through the moist skin which lines the mouth, anus and genitals. The virus may also pass onto another person through other areas of human skin, as well as the eyes. A human cannot become infected by touching an object, such as a working surface, washbasin, or a towel which has been touched by an infected person.
Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV/HHV-3): Varicella zoster virus (VZV) or HHV 3 is a type of herpes simplex virus that belongs to the α- herpes virus family. Varicella zoster virus is present worldwide and as it belongs to the herpes family, it is highly infectious. Primary infection with VZV or HHV 3 leads to acute varicella or “chickenpox”. The virus travels from one human body to another usually from exposure either through direct contact with a skin lesion or through airborne spread from respiratory droplets. Primary infection with VZV/ HHV- 3 typically presents with fever, constitutional symptoms and a vesicular, pruritic, widely disseminated rash that usually appear on the trunk and face. The cycle of replication of this virus usually ends in a week or about 10 days. After this, the symptoms disappear and your may start feeling better. However, in some cases, the infection may progress and lead to chronic problems.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV/HHV-4): EBV stands for Epstein Barr virus, but what is HHV 4? According to the systematic nomenclature adopted for all human herpes viruses, the formal designation of EBV is human herpes virus 4. If you think herpes simplex type one and type 2 viruses are the oldest ones, think again. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the first isolated human tumour virus, was identified in 1964 by Epstein’s group. Two major EBV types have been detected in humans: EBV-1 and EBV-2 (also known as types A and B). Just like HSV 1 and HSV 2, EBV-1 and EBV-2 also differ slightly in the sequence of the genes. In general terms, we can say that EBV targets only human cells as it can infect only humans. Talking about the result of the infection, it is the major cause of infectious mononucleosis, or “mono”. The disease caused by EBV is also famous as the “kissing disease. Again, because it is one of the types of human herpes viruses, it causes a highly contagious infection that is easily human transmissible through saliva. Apart from getting the infection through kissing, mere coughing, sneezing, or sharing eating utensils with an infected person can pass the virus from one person to another.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV/HHV-5): According to the standard categorization, cytomegalovirus is human herpes virus 5. Unlike the others discussed above, it rarely causes a problem in humans with strong immunity. However, the infection caused by HHV – 5 is a major complication in people struggling with AIDS. Just like most of the other viruses belonging to human herpes viruses class, this too can be sexually transmitted. It differs in action because in normal adults, it rarely causes any symptoms, but can cause problems to newborns, and can cause hepatitis. HHV – 5 can be transmitted through sexual contact, breast-feeding, blood transfusions, and organ transplants. It is not at all dangerous for people with a healthy immune system, and the same can be life threatening in people with a damaged immunity.
Human Herpes virus type 6 (HBLV/HHV-6): In 1986, the discovery of a novel human herpes virus- human herpes virus type 6 was reported in the journal Science. Today, we know it as a widespread virus belonging to the category of beta herpes viruses which is genetically related to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). Further research has lead to the discovery of two categories of species in human herpes virus type 6- HHV-6A and HHV-6B. Both the types of viruses are known to causes roseola. Roseola is a viral disease that results in high fever and a skin rash in small children. On getting infected with HHV 6, a variety of other illnesses associated with fever are also observed in children. Some reports suggest that HHV type 6 usually is a threat in immune-compromised people having AIDS and other such life threatening problems.
Human Herpes virus type 7 (HHV-7): Belonging to the beta herpes virus family, human herpes virus type 7 was discovered in 1989. Not many studies have examined the exact effect of HHV type 7, but, it is believed to cause roseola. Some reports also suggest that the virus is involved in causing febrile illnesses mimicking measles and rubella. However, because of lack of evidences, it cannot be concluded that it is the cause behind all such chronic problems.
Human Herpes virus type 8 (KSHV/HHV-8): In untreated patients of AIDS, human herpes virus type 8 is the cause of the most common cancer- Kaposi’s sarcoma. KS forms purplish tumors in the skin and other tissues of some people with AIDS. It is very difficult to treat with medication. HHV8 may also cause other cancers, including certain lymphomas (lymph node cancers) associated with AIDS.
After looking at all the types of herpes viruses that infect human, do you think herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 are the most dangerous ones. Of course not. In people with compromised immunity, the other types can put the life of the patient in danger. And the worst part is that there is no potent antiviral drug that can give any one of them a tough fight. Yes, it is true that allopathy and modern medicine is unable to answer the viruses appropriately. People seek help from herbs and natural alternatives to lead a healthy and infection free life. unfortunately, these methods lacked standardization till some time ago. Thankfully, there are now processes like VSAHT (Verified and supervised alternative herpes treatment) that are using the natural solutions but with a scientific touch. Despite many effective options, people are gradually getting benefits from comprehensive programs like VSAHT. If you too get frequent herpes outbreaks, think beyond the ineffective and harmful antiviral drugs in order to make your life better.