Herpes is actually a family of eight viruses called the Herpesviridae family of viruses. Besides HSV-1 and HSV-2, the following viruses belong to this family:
- Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV): This is the virus that causes the chickenpox in children although it is much less common now than it used to be because we now have a vaccine. When reactivated later in life, this virus cause shingles, a painful rash that can sometimes cause chronic pain even after the rash heals.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV): This virus is one of the causes of infectious mononucleosis (aka “mono”). In people with poor immune systems it can infect other organs, such as the brain, the eyes, the lungs, and the esophagus.
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV): This is another cause of infectious mononucleosis (aka “mono”). Occasionally, it can cause hepatitis. It is also associated with certain types of cancer, such as Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
- Human Herpes Virus 6 & 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7): These viruses cause an illness with rash and fever in children usually under age 2.
- Human Herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8): This virus causes Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a type of cancer that occurs in people with very weak immune systems due to AIDS or other causes.
Some of these viruses can also be treated with antiviral drugs in the same family as valacyclovir (e.g. acyclovir, ganciclovir, valganciclovir, etc.).
This information is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.