Latency and Herpesvirus Infections
The family of viruses called the herpesviruses is a fascinating and diverse group of agents. A unique, intriguing, and frustrating aspect of these agents is their ability to become latent and produce reactivation infections. While we will concentrate on the herpes simplex viruses in this article, the entire family of agents appears capable of producing latency. With both herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), there are really two different forms of viral infection. In the acute form, what we would call a productive or lytic infection, the virus is replicating, producing mature virions, taking over the cell's machinery, causing cell death, and provoking the immune responses that are associated with recent or chronic infections. With both HSV-1 and HSV-2, a latent state of viral infection is established in the dorsal spinal ganglia of the host. At present there is little evidence of
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