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Ocular shedding of herpes simplex virus.
  1. S B Kaye,
  2. N Madan,
  3. T C Dowd,
  4. C A Hart,
  5. K McCarthy and
  6. A Patterson
  1. St Paul's Eye Hospital, Liverpool.


    The presence, frequency, and relationship of ocular and oral shedding of herpes simplex virus to previous herpes keratitis was investigated. This was to determine if a history of herpes keratitis predisposes to shedding of the herpes simplex virus into the tear film and/or mouth. Swabs were collected from the eyes and mouth of two groups of patients thrice weekly over a two- to four-month period. Group A comprised nine patients with a history of herpes labialis, group B 15 patients with a history of herpes keratitis. Herpes simplex virus type 1 was isolated from 1.33% of mouth specimens but was not identified in any of the ocular specimens. There was no significant difference between groups A and B in terms of ocular or oral shedding. Oral shedding appears to be independent of a previous herpes keratitis. The tear film is an unlikely source of virus in persons either with no history of herpes keratitis or between attacks in those patients with a history of previous herpes keratitis.

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