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August 24, 1984

Transmission of Herpes Simplex

Author Affiliations

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

JAMA. 1984;252(8):1010-1011. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350080016011

To the Editor.—  We have several objections to the article entitled "Survival of Herpes Simplex Virus in Water Specimens Collected From Hot Tubs in Spa Facilities and on Plastic Surfaces," by Nerurkar et al.1The most important objections center around the authors' repeated statements that "it is important to consider possible nonvenereal modes of transmission of herpes simplex virus [HSV] infections," that "those sources [tap water and plastic surfaces] must be considered as important possible routes for nonvenereal spread of HSV," and, finally, that "further epidemiologic studies will be needed to clarify the increasingly recognized role of fomites in the spread of HSV." Neither the studies cited2-3 nor the study reported1 support an "increasingly recognized role" for fomites in the spread of genital herpes. The theoretical possibility of nonsexual transmission of genital herpes may seem reasonable to laboratory investigators, the press, the general public, or to physicians not