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Am J Ophthalmol. 2006 Mar;141(3):547-557.

Ocular herpes simplex: changing epidemiology, emerging disease patterns, and the potential of vaccine prevention and therapy.

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Pepose Vision Institute, 16216 Baxter Road, Ste. 205, Chesterfield, MO 63107, USA.



To review the changing epidemiology of herpes simplex virus infection, emerging patterns of herpetic ocular disease, and the challenges and promise of herpes simplex virus vaccine therapy.




Literature review.


An epidemic increase in genital herpes simplex type 2 infection is reflected in a 30% increase in HSV-2 antibodies in the United States since 1976. Approximately one in four people in the United States over age 30 is infected with HSV-2. Primary acquisition of herpes simplex type 1 is becoming progressively delayed in many industrialized countries, in contrast to developing nations where the virus is acquired early in life and is ubiquitous. Changes in sexual behavior among young adults have been associated with a recent increase in genital HSV-1 infection, resulting from oral-genital rather than genital-genital contact. Clinical trials of HSV vaccines using selected herpes simplex virus type 2 proteins mixed in adjuvant have shown limited efficacy in seronegative women, but not in men.


The recent epidemic of genital herpes simplex type 2 infection is likely to result in an increase in neonatal ocular herpes and in delayed cases of acute retinal necrosis syndrome. The increase in genital HSV-1 may lead to industry production of vaccines that contain components of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 targeted toward limiting genital disease and transmission. As newer herpes simplex vaccines become available, ophthalmologists must be vigilant that a boost in immunity against HSV does not have a paradoxical effect in exacerbating break-through cases that develop immune-mediated herpes simplex stromal keratitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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