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Oral cavity


Herpes simplex virus

Reviewer: Patricia DeVilliers, D.D.S., M.S. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 3 October 2012, last major update August 2012
Copyright: (c) 2001-2012, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Also called cold sore
● Usually HSV1
● Lasts 3-4 weeks, then virus tracks along regional nerves and becomes dormant in trigeminal or other local ganglia
● Most infected adults have latent HSV1 that is activated by upper respiratory infection, excessive exposure to cold, wind, sun, allergies

Acute herpetic gingivostomatitis: rare, children 2-4 years with diffuse involvement of oral and pharyngeal mucosa, tongue, gingiva
● Fiery red mucosa and swelling with clusters of vesicles
Recurrent herpetic stomatitis: groups of 1-3 mm vesicles on the lips, nasal orifices, buccal mucosa
● Lesions heal in 7-10 days
Tzanck test: microscopic examination of vesicle fluid shows giant cells, inclusions

Gross description

● Vesicles or bullae with clear serous fluid, painful shallow ulcers

Micro description

● Intra- and intercellular edema (acantholysis), intranuclear inclusions, multinucleate polykaryons (giant cells)

End of Oral cavity > Infectious > Herpes simplex virus

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