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Different Types of Lesions in the Mouth – Part 2a – Viruses

June 24, 2019

Some examples of viral infections include Herpes Virus infection, Human Papilloma Virus infection, Coxsackie Virus infection, Mumps, Measles (rubeola), and Rubella.

However, the most common viral infection in the mouth is with the Herpes Simplex Type 1. It is estimate that 97% of people have the Herpes Type 1 virus. (Type 2 Herpes virus is found in the genitals).

Its initial infection tends to involve the whole of the mouth, causing and inflamed red colour amongst a great number of ulcers. Before an ulcer forms, it is a vesicle i.e. fluid filled bubble of liquid containing the virus. This then bursts after a short period and the exposed next layer of the body, the connective tissue or dermis, is exposed forming the ulcer.

This is very infective episode. The virus is released to infiltrate more cells, to force the DNA of the cell to make more viruses. Eventually the body’s immune system kicks it. The virus retreat to hide amongst the nerve tissue. The body won’t attack the virus here as it is hidden by its own nerve tissue.

Primary lesions of Herpes Simplex Type1 (Semantic Scholar)

Secondary infection occurs when the immune system is compromised and the virus comes out of hiding to reinfect the body (its host). This typically occurs on the lips, typically called Cold Sores.

Antiviral agents, such as Acyclovir, if used early, can prevent the virus infecting neighbouring cells.

Antibiotics will not work for viruses!

Cold Sore

The AIDS/HIV virus attacks the T-cells used in the body’s immune system. The immune system is so weaken that rare diseases, conditions and cancers occur. Hairy leucoplakia is a common early lesion found in AIDS.

Oral hairy leukoplakia - Paul A. Volberding MD - Uni California

Other Viruses, such as Mumps, Measles (rubeola), and Rubella, are best prevented with a vaccine. A vaccine is a part of the virus or deactivated virus, which the body can use to make antibodies against the virus. The body is then ready to attack the virus before it can spread.

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Next week

Different Types of Lesions in the Mouth - Part 2b - Parasites