VESICULOEROSIVE lesions anywhere on the mucous membranes present problems both of etiology and of therapy. Mechanical trauma; burns; primary chemical irritation; bacterial, fungous, and virus infection, and drug and contacttype eruptions, among others, are all possibilities in most cases. Clinical designations for acute eruptive pathologic conditions of the mucous membrane—e. g., infectious gingivostomatitis, stomatitis ulceromembranosa acuta, aphthous stomatitis, catarrhal stomatitis, ulcus vulvae acutum, and herpetic or dendritis ulcer (ulcus cornea)—are largely descriptive either of location or of gross pathologic features and reflect the lack of definitive information about the cause of most such disease pictures. Differential diagnosis within this group of common vesiculoerosive entities is always difficult and tends to remain vague.
For many years now it has been suspected that at least some of these diseases may be of virus causation, particularly of herpes simplex virus origin. Before the very modern era of the development of fairly good methods