Common viral infections of the skin and their treatment

E. B. Smith, S. S. Raimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Herpes virus infections, warts, and molluscum contagiosum are among the most common infections involving the skin. Most humans contract herpes simplex virus infections during the first few years of life. Fortunately, only about two to four per cent of those infected have difficulty with frequent recurrences of herpes simplex. During the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1971 to 1974, about .4 per cent of the subjects had evidence of herpes simplex infections at the time of the examination. Varicella-zoster virus is also contracted by most persons during childhood, producing chickenpox. The recurrent form of this infection, herpes zoster, occurs more often in older persons, reaching an incidence of ten per thousand by the age of 90 years. Warts, on the other hand, occur quite frequently in childhood and young adult life, reaching a maximum incidence of 1.5 per cent in children between the ages of 12 and 17. Molluscum contagiosum, caused by one of the pox viruses, is much less common but still occurs with greater frequency in children. The pathogenesis of these infections as they relate to treatment are reviewed and therapeutic measures that may be helpful are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-817
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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