Entries in herpes (6)


Woman Wins $1M Suit against Dentist Who Gave Her STD

Hemera/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Unsafe sex can be costly, nearly a million dollars in this case. After four days of testimony and two hours of deliberation, a jury has awarded an Oregon woman $900,000 in damages because she contracted genital herpes after a liaison with a retired dentist.

“The jury essentially said if a person knows he has an STD, he has a duty to inform a sex partner before, not after,” said Randall Vogt, the woman’s attorney.

Vogt’s client, who sued under a pseudonym, met the retired dentist, 69, on an Internet dating website in 2010 and went on three dates, he said. On the fourth, they had sex.

The woman, 49, handed her partner a condom, but his sexual advances took over too quickly, she says. After intercourse, as the two lay in bed discussing their connection, the man decided to open up and revealed he had herpes, according to the lawsuit. The woman kicked him out of her home.

Eleven days later, the woman had a painful outbreak, which she continues to have periodically. Antiviral medication caused her to lose her hair and she has since gained weight from the drugs she takes to treat the depression caused by the herpes, the lawsuit alleged.

Defense attorney Shawn Lillegren argued that the woman was careless and money-hungry.  “Grow up. Come on. You’re an adult. He’s an adult. They had sex,” Lillegren said, according to the Oregonian.

But the jury didn’t buy it, and Tuesday found the man 75 percent liable for negligence and completely liable for civil battery.

Vogt said this kind of lawsuit is “extremely rare” because it’s often hard to prove where the victim contracted the STD. He also said embarrassment plays a factor in deterring victims from confronting former partners in court.

He hopes his client set a new precedent.

“When people learn they can be sued for transmitting an STD to another person,” he said, “it is going to encourage people to be more careful and less reckless about their contact.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baby Dies of Herpes in Ritual Circumcision by Orthodox Jews

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City is investigating the death last September of a baby who contracted herpes after a "ritual circumcision with oral suction" in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish ceremony known in Hebrew as metzitzah b'peh.

In a practice that takes place during a ceremony known as the bris, a circumcision practitioner, or mohel, removes the foreskin from a baby's penis, and with his mouth sucks the blood from the incision to cleanse the wound.

The district attorney's office in Kings County Brooklyn, which is investigating the death of the 2-week-old baby at Maimonides Hospital, would not disclose the name of the mohel or whether there would be prosecuted.

"We are looking into it, that's all I can say," a D.A. source told ABC News.

The 5,000-year-old religious practice is seen primarily in ultra-Orthodox and some orthodox communities, and has caused alarm among city health officials.  In 2003 and 2004, three babies, including a set of twins, were infected with Type 1 herpes.  The cases were linked to circumcision, and one boy died.

The mohel who performed the procedures, Yitzchok Fischer, was later banned from doing circumcisions, according to The New York Times.  It is not known if he was involved in this recent death.

"It's certainly not something any of us recommend in the modern infection-control era," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University.

"This is a ritual of historic Abraham that's come down through the ages, and now it has met modern science," he said.  "It was never a good idea, and there is a better way to do this."  (The modern Jewish community uses a sterile aspiration device to clean the wound in a circumcision.)

In the 2004 death and the most recent one, a mohel infected the penile wounds with Type 1 herpes I (HSV-1), which affects the mouth and throat.  It is different from Type 2 or genital herpes (HSV-2), which is a sexually transmitted disease and can cause deadly infections when a newborn passes through an infected birth canal.

Neonatal herpes is "almost always" a fatal infection, according to Schaffner.  "It's a bad virus.  [Infants] have no immunity and so it's a very serious illness.  Now we have another death -- an unnecessary, incredibly tragic death."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Herpes Vaccine Disappoints in Large Clinical Trial

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- The search for a vaccine against genital herpes has hit a snag, researchers say.

Despite earlier success, new results from a larger clinical trial, reported in the Jan. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that the experimental herpes vaccine provided only moderate protection against herpes type 1, which causes cold sores and occasional genital herpes cases.  The vaccine was not effective at all for the most common cause for genital herpes (type 2).

"We're really disappointed by the results," study co-author Dr. Peter Leone of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill said, according to MedPage Today.  

Leone said, MedPage reports, that since the virus types 1 and 2 are too difficult to tell apart, the vaccine's value is rendered inadequate.

Going forward, Dr. Leone said "a different type of vaccine approach" will be necessary to fight both viruses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: AIDS Treatment Works for Herpes Too

Hemera/Thinkstock(BETHESDA, Md.) -- A vaginal gel that was originally created to protect against the AIDS virus in women showed bonus results when it proved even more effective in fighting the genital herpes virus, according to a new study from researchers at the National Institutes of Health, Gilead Sciences Inc. and universities in Belgium and Italy.

The New York Times reported that the microbicide gel reduced the risk of herpes infection among the 450 women by 51 percent. The gel also reduced the risk of AIDS in healthy women by 39 percent. Given the prevalence of herpes and HIV around the world, doctors believe the surprising results could be an important advance in treatment and protection.

But the gel would still take years to get to the consumer market, researchers say.

Genital herpes is not fatal, but it is painful and stamped with a heavy social stigma. About 20 percent of sexually active adults worldwide have genital herpes, according to the World Health Organization and reported in the New York Times. It can be spread through skin-to-skin contact during sex, along with vaginal fluids and semen, even if neither partner shows the tell-tale sores.

The unexpected reduced risk of the herpes infection came from a 2010 trial conducted in South Africa, which found that the gel reduced the risk of AIDS infection by 39 percent.

“The tenofovir trial is being repeated to ensure that the results regarding HIV protection are real and are generalizable,” Justin O’Hagen, an infectious disease epidemiology doctoral student at Harvard School of Public Health, told ABC News. Tenofovir, made by Gilead -- which participated in the microbicide study -- is used in tandem with other antiviral meds to fight HIV. "Undoubtedly they will also collect further data on tenofovir’s effect on herpes so there will be even more publications on this, roughly in early 2013.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Horse Herpes Forces Cowgirls to Ride Stick Ponies

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(OGDEN, Utah) -- Even cowgirls get the blues. The contestants in a Utah rodeo queen contest had to abandon their mares and ride toy stick ponies -- all because of an equine herpes outbreak.

The girls took it in stride at the Davis County Sheriff's Mounted Posse Junior Queen Contest this week, doing their routines around the arena as if they were on horseback. They were judged on knowledge of the drill, rather than their riding skills.

"It's kind of weird, but you can't really help that the disease is going around," said Savanna Steed, 15, of Far West, Utah, who has been riding and competing since she was 4.

"It's an outbreak that we don't have a vaccine for," she told ABC News. "It's airborne and if you have a horse and it touches something and the other horse touches it, they get it. It's easy to catch."

Utah has 13 suspected and seven confirmed cases of equine herpes virus after horses at a regional cutting horse competition at the Golden Spike Arena in Ogden first showed symptoms of the illness.

Most commonly, the virus spreads by horse-to-horse contact but contaminated equipment and clothing and hands can also infect a horse with the virus. The arena took precautions by just eliminating the horses from the contest.

Veterinarians have been concerned because this EHV-1 virus is a mutant strain and is not covered by existing vaccines, according to Bruce L. King, Utah state veterinarian. And it's highly contagious.

Equine herpes is not transmitted to humans, according to Dr. Kenneth Fife, who specializes in infectious diseases and is professor of medicine at Indiana University Medical School.

The virus takes two forms in humans: herpes simplex [HSVI] 1 and 2. The first is associated with cold sores and fever blisters on the mouth and is usually acquired as a child. The second is sexually transmitted and affects the genitals.

HSVI 2 can be transmitted from a mother to her fetus and be life-threatening to the newborn. It can also make those who are exposed more vulnerable to HIV infections. HSVI 1 can be associated with fatal brain infections, though it is rare.

The only herpes virus that crosses species lines is a monkey virus that causes cold sores in the animal, but can potentially become a brain infection in humans, he said. Handlers can be infected.

Savanna wasn't worried for a moment about getting herpes. And she and her fellow cowgirls, though disappointed, didn't let their audience down.

"With the tornado and everything, it was nice to see something fun," said her grandmother, Janet Steed, who watched the contest on television.

New Jersey has had similar equine herpes outbreaks this spring, according to Christine Connelly, who has bred thoroughbreds at Bright View Farm in Chesterfield for the last 40 years.

"I admire the girls," she said. "They must have a lovely quality about them to be willing to be so wondrously foolish and engaged and still doing their best. The must love the sport enough.

"What it says is they love competition and they love what they are doing," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: No Symptoms of Herpes Does Not Mean No Risk to Others

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Genital herpes remains one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.  Many people think they can only infect their sexual partners if they are showing symptoms, such as genital lesions. A new study finds that among those who test positive but have no clinical symptoms, the infection is still active and can be shedding in the genital tract, therefore posing a potentially increased risk of transmitting the infection to sexual partners. 

This was the first study to look over time at people that have HSV-2 infection but don't have a history of genital herpes.

Doctors Anna Wald and Christine Johnston from the University of Washington in Seattle and co-authors studied almost 500 people, some with recurring genital herpes with  symptoms and others testing positive for the HSV-2 antibody having no clinical signs of genital herpes. All were asked to swab the genital area for at least 30 days to assess how often the virus was active.

The study appears in a theme issue on infectious diseases and immunological disorders in this week's JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers also found people who had recurring genital herpes had the active virus on about 20 percent of days. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio