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Arch Hellen Med, 16(5), September-October 1999, 500-503


Primary herpetic gingivostomatitis of adult onset

1Department of Oral Pathology and Surgery, School of Dentistry, University of Athens,
2Otorhinolaryngology Clinic, “Elpis” General Hospital,
Department of Virology, Hellenic Institute of Pasteur, Athens, Greece

The principal age group of patients affected by primary herpetic gingivostomatitis has traditionaly been conside red as children below the age of 6 years. However, increasing numbers of young and older adults exhibit this primary acute infection, which needs to be differentiated from other causes of acute stomatitis. Ten cases of acute, primary herpetic stomatitis of adult onset are reported. All patients presented with fever of 2–10 days’ duration, pharyngitis, anterior cervical lymphadenopathy, oral ulceration and the hallmark of herpes simplex primary infection, i.e. intensely erythematous, swollen and painful gingivae, one day after the onset of fever. Abdominal pain and diarrhea of two days’ duration preceded the oral ulceration in one patient. Viral culture and PCR confirmed the diagnosis of HSV-1 infection in two cases. All ten patients showed an immediate therapeutic response to either acyclovir (8 patients) or valacyclovir (2 patients) although the drugs were administered relatively late in the course of the disease. The changing epidemiology of HSV infection and the need for early diagnosis and treatment is stressed.

Key words: Adults, Primary herpetic gingivostomatitis.

© 2000, Archives of Hellenic Medicine