Health Questions and Answers

Question: What is the difference between a primary and a recurrent herpes outbreak?

Answer:

A primary herpes outbreak is typically more severe and lasts longer (12-21 days). Recurrent outbreaks typically last 2-5 days, and the symptoms are usually more mild. The frequency of HSV recurrence is quite variable. Some women experience a single outbreak and others have recurrences many times a year.

Reference:  Stenchever MA, Droegemueller W, Herbst AL, Mishell DR (eds): Comprehensive Gynecology, 4th ed. St. Louis, Mosby, 2001

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