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World Health Organization: Herpes Virus Carried by 67 Percent of Global Population

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By    |   Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 10:19 AM

The World Health Organization reported this week that the herpes virus is carried by 67 percent of the global population, roughly 3.7 billion people under the age of 50.

"We really need to accelerate the development of vaccines against herpes simplex virus, and if a vaccine designed to prevent HSV-2 infection also prevented HSV-1, it would have far reaching benefits," said Sami Gottlieb, a WHO medical officer, according to Reuters.

Dr. Marleen Temmerman, Director of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said that at the very least, "The new estimates highlight the crucial need for countries to improve data collection for both HSV types and sexually transmitted infections in general."

WHO noted that neither HSV-1, associated with oral cold sores, nor HSV-2, associated with genital herpes, are life threatening, and that not everyone who contracts the virus shows symptoms.

In the U.S., only about 15 percent of people with HSV-2 infection report a prior, formal diagnosis of genital herpes.

"People with orolabial herpes symptoms may face social stigma, and can experience psychological distress as a result. In people with weak immune systems, such as those with advanced HIV infection, HSV-1 can have more severe symptoms and more frequent recurrences. Rarely, HSV-1 infection can also lead to more serious complications such as encephalitis or ocular disease," WHO wrote in a statement.

Breaking the numbers out into detail, WHO estimated that 417 million people aged 15-49 years have an HSV-2 genital infection around the globe.

When it comes to HSV-1, WHO reported in 2012 that 178 million women (49 percent) and 142 million men (39 percent) are estimated to be infected in North and South America. In 2012, it estimated that 6 million women and 5 million men contracted the virus.

In 2016, WHO will release a global health sector strategy for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for the 69th World Health Assembly.

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The World Health Organization reported this week that the herpes virus is carried by 67 percent of the global population, roughly 3.7 billion people under the age of 50.
world health organization, herpes
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2015-19-29
Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 10:19 AM
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