What to know about herpes gladiatorum


HSV-1 commonly causes blisters, such as cold sores, to form on the skin. Bacteria may enter these blisters, causing a secondary infection. In this case, antibiotics may be necessary.

Without treatment, the bacterial infection may spread to other areas, such as the brain, eyes, liver, or lungs. If this occurs, it is a medical emergency, and the person needs urgent care.

HSV-1 transmits via skin-to-skin contact. Herpes gladiatorum typically passes between people participating in high-contact sports, such as wrestling, rugby, or basketball. For this reason, the condition is also known as mat herpes.

The virus can also transmit through:

  • kissing, if one person has a cold sore
  • sexual contact
  • sharing item such as drinks, utensils, and cellphones
  • Also, periods of illness and stress can cause herpes flare-ups.

While some people go for long periods without having any symptoms, flare-ups can happen at any time.

A doctor can recommend precautions to prevent transmission, and this is especially important for people who regularly participate in contact sports.

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Media Contact:

Kathy Andrews
Journal Manager
Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research
Email: derma@peerreviewedjournals.com