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June 1979

Herpes Gladiatorum

Author Affiliations

Amarillo, Tex

Arch Dermatol. 1979;115(6):678. doi:10.1001/archderm.1979.04010060004012

To the Editor.—  It is patently difficult to dislodge a bit of inappropriate terminology from the medical literature. We are, however, bemused and bedeviled when from time to time the name "herpes gladiatorum" surfaces in dermatological articles. As far as we can determine, this terminology was first coined in a report by Selling and Kibrick1 in 1964 entitled "Outbreak of Herpes Simplex Among Wrestlers (Herpes Gladiatorum)" and in the following year perpetuated by Wheeler and Cabaniss.2 Since that time the name has received the imprimatur of such standard sources as Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Practice and others.We submit that this nomenclature is etymologically inaccurate from the standpoint of the basic activities of both gladiators and wrestlers. Since the term "herpes simplex" is a bastardized Greco-Roman name, long ago firmly established, it seems appropriate to continue these linguistic anomalies. But we would suggest that the correct Latin term

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