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  1. Patel, Asha R. BS
  2. Romanelli, Paolo MD
  3. Roberts, Brenda
  4. Kirsner, Robert S. MD, PhD


Orofacial herpes is a widespread benign malady that is also commonly known as herpes labialis or cold sores. Herpes of this type is generally caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and, to a lesser degree, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), both of which are DNA viruses. The clinical presentation of herpetic lesions is normally located on mucocutaneous areas of the face and may eventually erode and ulcerate, leaving wounds that are known to be difficult to successfully treat. Focus of treatment has been related to treatment of the viral infection, and limited attention has focused on the resultant wounds. Clinical observation and recent histologic evaluation has demonstrated these wounds to extend through a disrupted cutaneous basement membrane into the dermis, suggesting that HSV is capable of causing partial-thickness wounds. This observation suggests a role for occlusion in the treatment of herpetic-induced partial-thickness wounds because occlusion is well recognized as the treatment of choice for other types of partial-thickness wounds.