Viral infection


Viral infections of the skin are among the most common infections and are also very contagious.

 

One of the most common viral infections is the herpes. There are two subtypes of herpes simplex viruses, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 more frequently affects the lips or the nose, while Type 2 is the more common cause of genital herpes.

 

Researchers have found that 85% of the people have antibodies against Type 1. The type 2 herpes virus causes between 20 and 50% of all cases of genital ulceration among the sexually active population.

 

Type 1 infections occur mainly during childhood and Type 2 infections may occur during adolescence. From that moment onwards, the virus stays latent for life in the spinal cord ganglia. Its activation is mainly caused by factors such as: Stress, trauma, menstrual cycle, sunlight and diseases.

 

Blisters filled with clear content are a typical manifestation in the initial stages of herpes infection. At a later stage, they become discoloured or break forming crust. The infection is mainly treated with anti-viral agents. In case of frequent relapses (more than 3 times a year), medicinal prophylaxis is prescribed.

 

Herpes zoster is an acute and very painful viral infection affecting 10 to 20% of the adult population, in particular on the background of underlying immune disorders. Herpes zoster is caused by a virus of the herpes group. Its initial manifestation is paediatric chicken-pox(90% of all cases occur before the age of 20). Following recovery from chicken-pox, similarly to the herpes simplex virus, the herpes zoster virus enters a latent state into the spinal cord ganglia. The chicken-pox rash may affect the skin of the entire body while herpes zoster is usually localised within a specific skin area (dermatome). Pain that may last for months is a typical manifestation of herpes zoster. Anti-viral agents at larger doses are usually administered as treatment.

 

Warts are common and non-malignant skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus. They affect about 10% of the population.

 

The most common forms of warts are:

- Common warts – they usually occur on the fingers, around the nails, and on the back side of the hands. They are raised, roundish, thick and with rough surface.

 

- Flat warts – they are small, about the size of a pinhead and have the same colour as the skin or are slightly darker. Their number may reach a few dozen and they are mainly located on the face. They are easily dispersed by shaving and scratching.

 

- Plantar warts – they usually grow on the inside because of the pressure applied by the body and may be spotted only after they start causing pain and discomfort during walking.

 

- Genital warts (condyloma) – they are sexually transmitted and usually manifest themselves several months after the sexual contact. They may be single or multiple, with an uneven surface similar to raspberry or cauliflower. They are small in the beginning, however, if left untreated, they may become huge.

 

Different methods and agents are used for warts treatment, depending on their type, number, size, the affected area and the patient's age. Most commonly, cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen), electric coagulation, laser therapy and different medications and local preparations are administered.

 

Another common viral infection is the molluscum contagiosum. It is more typical in children, however, it may also be sexually transmitted. It affects about 5% of the population. They are smooth, pink or skin-coloured, pearl-like knots, slightly depressed in the centre. They may be single or multiple and are easily transmitted by scratching. The most recommended treatment method is curettage.

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