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Pediatr Dermatol. 2019 Sep 9. doi: 10.1111/pde.13978. [Epub ahead of print]

Recurrent herpes labialis in the pediatric population: Prevalence, therapeutic studies, and associated complications.

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Division of Pediatric and Adolescent Dermatology, Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, California.
Departments of Dermatology and Pediatrics, San Diego School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California.


Recurrent herpes labialis (RHL) is an incredibly common condition, though the medical literature evaluating pediatric aspects is limited. This paper assesses prevalence and therapeutic studies of pediatric RHL as well as disease complications. A comprehensive literature search of English-language citations based on PubMed queries of selected terms was performed, with exclusion if methodology was not discussed, or if studies had 10 or fewer patients. RHL prevalence in pediatrics has been assessed by measures of point and periodic prevalence, though methodologic limitations may under- or over-estimate the true prevalence of RHL. Studies have been conducted to evaluate therapeutic safety, tolerability, and efficacy of antivirals in the pediatric population. Pediatric RHL point prevalence ranges from 0.72% to 5.2% depending on the population study and the methodologies used. Pediatric RHL carries a significant public health burden and is often implicated in patients with eczema herpeticum, erythema multiforme, reactive infectious mucositis eruptions, and hypersensitivity reactions. There are few studies that evaluate the rates of occurrence of these sequelae associated with pediatric RHL.


acyclovir; pediatric studies; point prevalence; recurrent herpes labialis


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