Infectious Disease Specialist Questions Herpes Simplex

Is herpes cold sores an infectious disease?

My husband is recently suffering from cold sores. I am very worried that this might infect my 6 year old son as he keeps going near my husband. What are the chances of the disease spreading?

4 Answers

Cold sores are caused by Herper Simplex I virus. It is spread by direct contact, so your husband should avoid kissing anyone when there are visible lesions. Virus is present in 5% of infected people even when no lesions are visible so he should always be cautious.
People contract HSV-1 by touching infected saliva, mucous membranes, or skin. Because the virus is highly contagious, a majority of the population is infected by at least one herpes subtype of HSV-1 before adulthood. The chances of contracting herpes without an active lesion is much much less likely.
Unless the sores, or fluid from the sores, comes into contact with your child's mucous membranes, the risk of transmission is very low. Cold sores are caused by Herpes Simplex type 1 virus. Most transmissions are through direct mucous membrane to mucous membrane contact, such as through kissing.
The herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) is a contagious virus that can be passed from person to person through DIRECT contact. Children will often contract HSV-1 from early contact with an infected adult.