Scientific Scribbles » Everyone Has a Herpes Virus

Skip to content
The University of Melbourne home page

** Scientific Scribbles **

Melbourne University science communication students ponder………

Links: [INPUT]


· Blogs
· Faculties
· A-Z Directory
· Library

How our language affects the way we think (Part 2). »

*Everyone Has a Herpes Virus*

Did you know that you most likely have live viruses hiding in your nerves
and central nervous system? If you have ever had a cold sore, or even the
chicken pox than you do. Both of these viruses are of the herpes virus
family which as well as cause visible effects of their infection, also hide
in your nerves waiting to reinfect later.

I say ‘hides’ because our bodies have actually developed mechanisms to
prevent our own body’s defenses from attacking nerve cells. These
defenses are necessary because nerve cells are extremely important for
movement and being able to react to the environment around you. This can be
as simple as putting on a sweater because your can sense that your body is
cold or moving your hand out of the fire because you can sense that it is

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus or HSV-1. The virus
infects the cells in your lips as well as traveling up the sensory neurons.
Your body controls the virus by killing the cells in your lips which are
infected with the virus; this cell death causes the blistering sore. The
virus particles which have made it to the nerves hide in waiting.

Factors such as sunlight or stress (which causes changes in hormones) can
reactivate the virus which will travel back down to the lips and reinfect
them producing a new sore. This cycle can be repeated numerous times


© 2005-2021