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Clin J Sport Med. 2016 Jul;26(4):272-8. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000255.

Prophylactic Valacyclovir to Prevent Outbreaks of Primary Herpes Gladiatorum at a 28-Day Wrestling Camp: A 10-Year Review.

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*Boynton Health Service, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; †Thomas Rhymer Consulting, Minneapolis, Minnesota; ‡Hawkeye Chiropractic Inc, Coralville, Iowa; §Twin Cities Orthopedics PA, Oak Park Heights, Minnesota; and ¶Sports and Orthopedic Specialists, Minneapolis, Minnesota.



To determine efficacy of using oral antiviral medication to reduce herpes gladiatorum (HG) at summer high-school wrestling camps.


Usage of antiviral medication hypothetically reduces the likelihood of HG outbreaks. This is an observational study examining the effectiveness of oral antiviral medications in reducing outbreaks of HG because of Herpes Simplex type-1 virus (HSV).


A 28-day high-school summer wrestling camp at the University of Minnesota from 2003 to 2012.


Each summer approximately 300 high-school wrestlers, age 13 to 18 years of age, participated in this camp.


All athletes were recommended to take valacyclovir 1 g once a day for the duration of the camp. Athletes who did not use any antiviral medication comprised the comparison group for this study. Individuals were screened daily and those with outbreaks of HG were withheld from practice for 120 hours in accordance with National Collegiate Athletic Association/National Federation of State High School Associations guidelines.


To measure viral outbreaks of HG due to HSV-1, determine level of compliance, and determine efficacy of antiviral medication in reducing the occurrence of HG at this 28-day wrestling camp.


Of the 2793 athletes who completed camp, 1995 (71%) used antiviral medication, and 36 outbreaks occurred. Eighty-four athletes had a known history of HG/recurrent herpes labialis. Overall, prophylactic antiviral medication resulted in an 84.7% decrease in the probability of an outbreak. Prophylactic valacyclovir (1 g daily) lowered the incidence of individual outbreaks by 89.5%.


Prophylactic use of valacyclovir 1 g once a day is efficacious in lowering the incidence of HSV outbreaks among adolescents at a 28-day wrestling camp.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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