Cold Sores: A New Understanding of How Stress, Illness, and Even Sunburn Cause Flare-Ups

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Cold Sores: A New Understanding of How Stress, Illness, and Even Sunburn Cause Flare-Ups

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have shed light on the factors that contribute to herpes simplex virus outbreaks, demonstrating how stress, illness, and even sunburn can induce undesirable outbreaks.

According to the researchers, the discovery could pave the way for novel strategies to prevent cold sores and herpes-related eye disease from recurrence.

“Stress, fever, and sunburn have long been associated with herpes simplex recurrence,” stated researcher Anna R. Cliffe, PhD, of the University of Virginia’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology. “This study illuminates the mechanism by which all of these triggers can result in herpes simplex-associated disease.”

Once infected with herpes simplex virus (HSV) — which more than half of Americans are — the virus never truly disappears. Rather than that, it lies within neurons, waiting for the optimal moment to reactivate, a process called as reactivation.

Cold sores, often called fever blisters, are a common sign of HSV reactivation. Herpes keratitis is caused by recurrent reactivation in the eye and, if left untreated, can result in blindness. Additionally, HSV infection has been associated with the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease.

HSV recurrences are generally related with stress, illness, or sunburn, but experts are unsure of the exact mechanism by which the virus reactivates. Cliffe and her colleagues discovered that when virus-infected neurons are subjected to stimuli that cause “neuronal hyperexcitation,” the virus detects this. Latest News from Infosurhoy.

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