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There are eight currently identified members of the human herpes virus family. They are ubiquitous and extremely well adapted pathogens. The name comes from the Greek 'herpein' - 'to creep', describing the chronic, latent or recurrent nature of infections.  There are 8 types of viruses organized into 3 different families as follows:

Alpha Herpes Viruses


Herpes simplex type I (HSV-1)

Herpes simplex type II (HSV-2)

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV/HHV-3)



Beta Herpes Viruses


Cytomegalovirus (CMV/HHV-5)

Herpesvirus type 6 (HBLV/HHV-6)

Herpesvirus type 7 (HHV-7)



Gamma Herpes Viruses


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV/HHV-4)

Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8)

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Alpha Herpes Viruses


The Herpes Virus is a fascinating group of DNA viruses that includes important human pathogens such as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), HSV-2, and varicella-zoster virus (VZV): the causative agents of cold sores, genital ulcerous disease, and chickenpox/shingles, respectively. 

A key attribute of these viruses is their ability to establish lifelong latent infection in the peripheral nervous system of the host. Such persistence requires subversion of the host's immune system and intrinsic antiviral defense mechanisms.

Read more about the family of Alpha Herpes Virus Here:

Cold Sores & Fever Blisters (HSV-1)

Herpes (HSV-2) 


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