Herpes simplex virus is a common virus which spreads from person to person by direct contact. In adults it can cause different symptoms depending on the site of infection and the type of virus (HSV type 1 or HSV type 2). Some people can have no symptoms of infection and in others it can lead to cold sores, blisters of the mouth/throat, genital ulcers/sores or infections of the brain, eye or skin. Once you get HSV infection, the virus remains in the body for life and may reactivate from time to time. The first infection is usually the most severe and lasts the longest. Recurrent infections are usually less severe and improve quickly.
In babies infection with herpes simplex virus is rare but can have devastating consequences as their immune system is not fully developed to fight off the virus.
Herpes simplex (neonatal) became a notifiable disease in Ireland in December 2018.