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Learning objectives

  • Identify the most common viruses that cause infections of the reproductive system
  • Compare the major characteristics of specific viral diseases affecting the reproductive system

Several viruses can cause serious problems for the human reproductive system. Most of these viral infections are incurable, increasing the risk of persistent sexual transmission. In addition, such viral infections are very common in the United States. For example, human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI in the country, with an estimated prevalence of 79.1 million infections in 2008; herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is the next most prevalent STI at 24.1 million infections. Catherine Lindsey Satterwhite, Elizabeth Torrone, Elissa Meites, Eileen F. Dunne, Reena Mahajan, M. Cheryl Bañez Ocfemia, John Su, Fujie Xu, and Hillard Weinstock. “Sexually Transmitted Infections Among US Women and Men: Prevalence and Incidence Estimates, 2008.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases 40, no. 3 (2013): 187–193. In this section, we will examine these and other major viral infections of the reproductive system.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a common condition caused by the herpes simplex virus ( [link] ), an enveloped, double-stranded DNA virus that is classified into two distinct types. Herpes simplex virus has several virulence factors, including infected cell protein (ICP) 34.5, which helps in replication and inhibits the maturation of dendritic cells as a mechanism of avoiding elimination by the immune system. In addition, surface glycoproteins on the viral envelope promote the coating of herpes simplex virus with antibodies and complement factors, allowing the virus to appear as “self” and prevent immune system activation and elimination.

There are two herpes simplex virus types. While herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is generally associated with oral lesions like cold sores or fever blisters (see Viral Infections of the Skin and Eyes ), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is usually associated with genital herpes. However, both viruses can infect either location as well as other parts of the body. Oral-genital contact can spread either virus from the mouth to the genital region or vice versa.

Micrograph of round structures.
Virions of the herpes simplex virus are shown here in this transmission electron micrograph. (credit: modification of work by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Many infected individuals do not develop symptoms, and thus do not realize that they carry the virus. However, in some infected individuals, fever, chills, malaise, swollen lymph nodes, and pain precede the development of fluid-filled vesicles that may be irritating and uncomfortable. When these vesicles burst, they release infectious fluid and allow transmission of HSV. In addition, open herpes lesions can increase the risk of spreading or acquiring HIV.

In men, the herpes lesions typically develop on the penis and may be accompanied by a watery discharge. In women, the vesicles develop most commonly on the vulva, but may also develop on the vagina or cervix ( [link] ). The symptoms are typically mild, although the lesions may be irritating or accompanied by urinary discomfort. Use of condoms may not always be an effective means of preventing transmission of genital herpes since the lesions can occur on areas other than the genitals.

Questions & Answers

Digestion of food is completed in __
Amina Reply
difference btwn hausteria and appears
Raviha Reply
numerical and molecular taxanomy
Dhanshri Reply
difference btwn hausteria and appesorium
full life cycle of plasmodium parasite
Emmah Reply
what are ways of handling sharps
namugenyi Reply
never recap or bend a sharp objects
what are some medicine in treating patient with meningitis
describe the process of platelet formation
Joy Reply
what is parasitic helminths
Sadiya Reply
list three categories of symbiotic relationships.
mary Reply
parasitis,mutualism and comensalism.
what's the difference between microbial intoxication and infectious diseases
dranimva Reply
microbial intoxication results when a person ingests a toxin or a poisonous substance that has been produced by a microbe while infectious disease results when a pathogen colonize the body and subsequently cause disease.
weighing balance is needed in lab of microbiology for weighing?
amna Reply
It is mainly used for media preparation and product testing purpose.
thank you for your joining
what is microbiology
Shamsuddeen Reply
study of living organisms that are too small to be visible with naked eye
microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, either unicellular(single cell), multicellular( cell colony), or acellular (lacking cell).
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms that cannot be seen with the necked eyes but by the help of microscope.
is the word Atypical or a typical bacteria. .am confused pliz help
typical bacteria
okay thank you what does that mean
atypical means that it has some characters from bacteria not all characters ...but tybical means that it has all the characters that bacteria have
thank you Zulpha
some examples please
thank you Reham
1) typical bacteria contain a cell wall whereas atypical bacteria usually do not contain a cell . 2) typical bacteria can be either Gram-positive or Gram-negative while atypical bacteria remain colorless with Gram staining. 3) cells of typical bacteria are large ,while cells of the atypical small
Example of atypical : Mycoplasma pneumoniae , chlamydophila pneumoniae , legionella
what is micro biology
Jauharah Reply
is the study of organisms which can't be viewed by our necked eyes
Because it preexisting causing secondary infection after collateral damage of normal microbota
Rafaa Reply
combinations of drugs that can't be taken together and why
Grace Reply
Antagonism: the combined action is less than that of the more effective agent when used alone). All these effects may be observed in vitro (particularly in terms of bactericidal rate) and in vivo والله اعلم

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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