A Professor of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, says herpes, not malaria causes oral blisters in people who experience it even when they are having from malaria.
Professor Terver stated that herpes blisters can occur in other parts of the body like the mouth and not just on the genitals.
According to an article published by Mayo Clinic, an online medical site “Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus.”
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, Terver said, “What we normally call blister fever is caused by the herpes virus and what happens is when someone develops a fever or any form of infection and the immune system is affected or lowered during that period of infection or disease, the herpes virus which is already in the body in a dormant form now reactivates and multiplies and cause blisters around the mouth.
“Malaria can lower the immunity of the body then the virus will multiply and cause blisters.
“The blisters are not caused by the malaria fever. They are caused by the virus that was in the body before the person got infected with malaria disease.
“But when somebody is normal and is not in any form of sickness, it is there in the body but it doesn’t cause any harm until there’s a severe fever then it can get an opportunity to multiply and cause blisters.”
He stated that though herpes is commonly transmitted during penetrative sex, it can also be transmitted through kissing.
“It can equally be transmitted through non-sexual forms such as blood transfusion, use of contaminated medical equipment. Also, if someone with rashes touches another with broken skin, it can also lead to transmission of the virus,” the professor added.
Terver noted that the herpes virus which manifests when the immune system goes down does not have any cure.
He stated that people can live with herpes their entire life without any problem provided the person doesn’t come down with any form of sickness that will lower their immunity.
He stated that herps can also be transmitted from an infected pregnant mother to the child.
Speaking on if herpes can be detected via test, Terver said that it can only be detected when the virus is active.
“It is not usually not among the diseases that are tested because after the infection even when it shows in the genital area when the person becomes well, the disease clears and is hidden somewhere in the body so even if you test it, you will not see it again.
“There can be a specialised test for it and even with the specialised test, it can only be detected when the disease is manifesting with symptoms such as oral blisters, genital blisters. These are the only stages where you can detect the virus. Whenever it clears you cannot detect the virus,” he said.
On how to prevent being infected with the disease? Terver said abstinence, use of barriers during sex as well as avoiding having multiple sex partners are ways to prevent herpes, adding that using only sterilised equipment is also encouraged.
Though the disease is incurable, Terver said it could be a risk factor for cancer of the cervix in some women. It could also be a risk factor for other forms of cancer.
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