Complications of genital herpes infection

If the herpes simplex virus (HSV) invades a part of the body other than the genital area, it may cause disease in that part of the body. Complications are generally rare and usually occur with the first-time (primary) genital herpes outbreak. Some of these complications include:

  • Meningitis , an infection of the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) and tissues (meninges) that surround the brain and spinal cord.
  • Encephalitis , an inflammation of the brain that is usually the result of a viral infection.
  • Inflammation of the lower spinal cord and surrounding nerves, possibly resulting in an inability to urinate, constipation, and loss of feeling and muscle strength in the legs.
  • Widespread infection, including viral infections of the liver, lungs, and joints. This mostly occurs in people who have impaired immune systems.

Last Updated: January 13, 2009

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