What is Herpes Gladiatorum?

Herpes Gladiatorum is an infection caused by the herpes virus. The disease can be transmitted from one person to the other through physical contact. According to the CDC, the viral ailment was first discovered in the 60s. The details about the disease were published in a medical journal soon after its discovery. The Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) is the main cause of the Herpes Gladiatorum. HSV-1 is also commonly referred to as oral herpes since it is typified by cold sores or blisters on the mouth or lips.

Whereas the infection is primarily passed from one person to the other through physical contact, for example, kissing, oral sex and sexual intercourse, it can also be passed through contact sport, for example, wrestling and rugby. Nevertheless, infection through contact sport is not that common. Herpes Gladiatorum is also commonly referred to as “wrestler’s herpes”.


What Causes Herpes Gladiatorum?

The Herpes Gladiatorum is basically a skin infection that is mainly triggered by the HSV. The virus is known for infecting the cells and tissues within the ectodermal layer of the skin. The first viral replication often happens at the entrance site within the skin.

The infections triggered by the herpes simplex virus type 1 can either be basic or recurring. Several studies have discovered that although a majority of people who are subjected to the virus contract the disease, only 10% of those who are infected will acquire sores. These forms of sores normally appear within a period of 21 days after being exposed to the virus. The good news is that the sores do not last for more than 10 days. In contrast to other forms of herpes, the sores caused by Herpes Gladiatorum often disappear without leaving blemishes.

While the signs and symptoms may disappear, the actual virus causing the infection remains dormant in the body. It is for this reason that a majority of people who have suffered from Herpes Gladiatorum still experience relapses even after proper treatment is complete. The virus is usually reactivated after it moves from the nerve cells. After the disease has relapsed, it is usually characterized as a mild infection. The infection can be caused by a number of external elements, for example, exposure or distress.

A person usually gets infected with the virus in the following ways. First and foremost, injured skin is exposed to the virus when it comes to contact with infected skin. The virus then moves to the nuclei of the cells where it starts to reproduce. Blisters and ulcers which usually form on the skin are normally due to devastation of infected tissues. In its dormant state, the virus cannot replicate. Reproduction is normally caused by recurrence.


Signs and Symptoms of Herpes Gladiatorum

Listed below are some of the signs and symptoms commonly associated with the Herpes Gladiatorum:

- Swelling of the lymph nodes.

- Fluid filled blisters.

- Sore throat.

- Headaches.

- Fever.

Given that each of the blisters on the skin comprise of an infectious viral particle, persons who participate on abrasive contact sports are at high risk. Once the blisters burst, they are immediately passed on to the next person.

The signs and symptoms associated with the Herpes Gladiatorum can take up to 4 weeks to clear. The signs and symptoms are normally pronounced during the first outbreak. But if there is a recurrence, the symptoms are mild.

Prevention and Treatment

The secret to preventing the Herpes Gladiatorum is observing high hygiene standards. When it comes to contact sports, proper screening and elimination of affected persons is the best way to prevent the spread of the disease.


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