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The Various Types of Viral Skin Infections

There’s no shortage of viral skin infections – they come in many types. Some of them are quite common and familiar to everyone, while others are pretty rare. They also range from mild to severe and there are also viral skin infections that show up in people with associated systemic diseases. That all being said, here is how these infections are divided.

Nonspecific Viral Rashes

This type of skin issue is also called erythematous rash and often appears as a result of viral infections. It goes hand in hand with the common symptoms of a viral infection. These symptoms include fever, headache and malaise. These rashes generally develop quite rapidly.

The way in which they appear may vary, but most often they appear in the form of an erythematous blotchy eruption.

Local Viral Infections

A lot of sub-types belong to this group and many of them are quite common.

Herpes Simplex 

There are eight different (currently identified) sub-types of the herpesvirus family. These are ubiquitous and remarkably well adapted pathogens. Their name originates from the Greek word ‘herpein’ which means ‘to creep’. It depicts the chronic and often recurrent nature of these skin issues.

Here are the eight different types:

  1. Herpes simplex type I (HSV-1).
  2. Herpes simplex type II (HSV-2).
  3. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV/HHV-3).
  4. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV/HHV-4).
  5. Cytomegalovirus (CMV/HHV-5).
  6. Herpesvirus type 6 (HBLV/HHV-6).
  7. Herpesvirus type 7 (HHV-7).
  8. Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8).

Herpes Zoster

Type of infection that occurs when the varicella-zoster virus gets reactivated from its latent state in a posterior dorsal root ganglion.

Molluscum Contagiosum 

This is an infection caused by a poxvirus, which is a molluscum contagiosum virus. The outcome of this infection is often a benign, mild skin disease. The symptoms are lesions (growths) that can make an appearance anywhere on the body.

Warts
These are small, hard, benign growths on the skin. This is a highly contagious type of infection which is mainly passed through direct skin contact

Orf
This infection is contracted from sheep and goats. It is the result of the parapox virus, a type that infects young lambs and goats – they contract this infection from one another. The virus can also be present in the pastures and the young can contract it from there.

Types of Viral Skin Infections That Have Rash as a Symptom:

  1. Measles
  2. German measles
  3. Chickenpox (varicella virus)
  4. Fifth disease (erythema infectiosum, caused by parvovirus)
  5. Roseola (erythema subitum, caused by herpesvirus 6)
  6. Pityriasis rosea (possibly caused by herpesvirus types 6 and 7)
  7. Echovirus and adenovirus infections often produce a rash
  8. Epstein Barr virus of infectious mononucleosis (may or may not cause a rash)
  9. Primary HIV infection

Who is at Risk the Most?

It has been found that playing sport increases the risk of transmission of dermatological infections. This is not a general rule, but it is accurate statistics. The most common reason for this is the direct skin-to-skin contact that occurs. Sports where this is most frequent are rugby, wrestling and similar contact sport activities. Another reason is the constant sweating. This can cause maceration of the skin thus creating an entry point for infections. Sharing wet areas is another common way of transferring infections. In this case, it all begins with the feet. The contamination takes place in showers and swimming pools.

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