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June 1985

The Problem of Genital Herpes in Prepubertal Children

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Marshall University School of Medicine 1801 Sixth Ave Huntington, WV 25701

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(6):542-543. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140080012007

Sir.—I wholeheartedly agree with Kaplan et al1 that genital herpes in a child should always be investigated because of the possibility of sexual abuse. Nevertheless, I am frustrated by the difficulty in eliciting a positive history for sexual abuse, and I am also concerned that false accusation or aggressive investigation may also be detrimental. Two additional cases of prepubertal genital herpes are reported herein to discuss this point.

Report of Cases.—CASE 1.—A 9-year-old girl was referred for a painful perineal lesion of five days' duration. This was one of several similar occurrences of painful genital sores for this child. Her first episode at the age of 6 years was described as "hundreds" of extremely painful blisters covering most of her perineum and extending to her waist and upper thighs. Although her physician told the mother this infection was most likely herpes simplex virus (HSV), no cultures were

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