The key difference between herpes simplex and varicella zoster is that herpes simplex is the causative virus of herpes, while varicella zoster is the causative virus of shingles.
Herpesviridae is a large family of DNA viruses. The members of this family cause infections and certain diseases in animals and humans. The Herpesvirus family has popular viruses such as HSV, varicella zoster, Epstein Barr virus, etc. Therefore, herpes simplex and varicella zoster are two viruses that belong to the same herpesvirus family. Herpes simplex and varicella zoster both cause serious diseases, such as herpes and shingles, in humans. These diseases are skin conditions that cause rashes in the human body. However, herpes rash develops in or around the mouth and genitals, while shingles rash usually develops on one side of the body.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Herpes Simplex
3. What is Varicella Zoster
4. Similarities -Herpes Simplex and Varicella Zoster
5. Herpes Simplex vs. Varicella Zoster in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Herpes Simplex vs. Varicella-Zoster
What is Herpes Simplex?
Herpes simplex is a virus that belongs to herpesvirus family and causes herpes disease in humans. There are two types of herpes simplex viruses known as HSV1 and HSV2, which are responsible for developing herpes. People get the infection of HSV1 if they come into contact with the virus present on surfaces, in saliva, or in sores around the mouth. On the other hand, HSV2 is transmitted by sexual intercourse. The transmission is due to a herpes sore, genital fluids, and the skin in the oral or genital area of someone with herpes condition. The common symptoms of herpes are sores developing in or around the lips and mouth, face, tongue, or sometimes in other skin areas, sores developing on the penis, around or inside the vagina, on buttocks or on the anus, fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, painful urination, and eye infections.
This disease can be diagnosed through physical examinations, blood tests, and PCR testing. There are various treatment options for herpes. Pain relief such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, applying aloe vera gel or petroleum jelly to sores, applying a cream containing lidocaine to the urethra before urinating, refraining from sexual activity until resolving the infection, and taking antiviral medication such as acyclovir are some of the treatments.
What is Varicella Zoster?
Varicella zoster is a virus that belongs to the herpesvirus family. It is the viral pathogen that causes shingles. Singles usually affect a small area on one side of the body. The symptoms of this condition may include pain, burning or tingling sensation, sensitivity to touch, a red rash, fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust formation, itching, fever, headache, and sensitivity to light and fatigue.
Diagnosis of shingles can be made through medical history, physical examinations, culturing in the laboratory, and PCR testing. Furthermore, shingles can be treated through antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, famciclovir, valacyclovir, and medications for pain such as capsaicin, anticonvulsants (gabapentin), tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline), numbing agent (lidocaine), and injection of corticosteroids and local anesthetics.
What are the Similarities Between Herpes Simplex and Varicella Zoster?
- Herpes simplex and varicella zoster are two viruses that belong to the same family called herpes virus.
- They are DNA viruses that contain double-stranded DNA as genetic material.
- They cause serious skin diseases in humans.
- Rashes are the main symptom of both diseases.
- They can cause lifelong latent infections in the neuronal cells of the ganglia.
- Their diseases are mainly treated through antiviral medications.
What is the Difference Between Herpes Simplex and Varicella Zoster?
Herpes simplex is the causative virus of herpes disease, while varicella zoster is the causative virus of shingles disease. Thus, this is the key difference between herpes simplex and varicella zoster. Furthermore, herpes simplex virus is 155 to 240 nm in size, while varicella zoster is 150 to 200 nm in size.
The infographic below presents the differences between herpes simplex and varicella zoster in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Herpes Simplex vs. Varicella-Zoster
Herpes simplex and varicella zoster are two DNA viruses that belong to the herpes virus family. They cause skin diseases in humans. Herpes simplex causes herpes disease in humans, while varicella zoster causes shingles in humans. They cause rashes on human skin. Moreover, they can cause life-long latent infections in neuronal cells of the ganglia as well. So, this is the summary of the difference between herpes simplex and varicella zoster.
1. “Varicella-zoster virus.” American Society for Microbiology.
2. “Herpes Simplex (HSV-1 & HSV-2) Virus: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment.” WebMD.