Herpes simplex virus shedding in genital secretions

Mary P. Stenzel-Poore, Lesley M. Hallick, James L. Fendrick, Marcy Neuburg, Frances J. Storrs, Jon M. Hanifin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Nine women and eight men with a history of genital herpes had cultures taken for 60 consecutive days to assess the frequency and duration of viral shedding in the absence of symptoms. Daily self-obtained specimens (cervical-vaginal swabs from women and urethral swabs from men) were submitted for viral isolation. Five of 972 samples were found to contain infectious virus; two of the positive specimens correlated with overt disease. The other three positive cultures, two from the same individual, were not clearly associated with a genital infection. Thus, the overall frequency of asymptomatic viral shedding was 0.31% and occurred in two of 17 individuals. It is concluded that prolonged continuous sampling may be necessary to assess the risk of asymptomatic shedding. Infectious virus was not present in the genital secretions of most individuals (15 of 17) in the absence of a lesion, even when cultured on a daily basis for 60 days.+.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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