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Herpes Affects More Than 3.7 Billion People In The World: WHO

According to a recent study conducted by the World Health Organization, about two-thirds of the global population under the age of 50 is affected with Herpes. The results of the study, published in the journal PLoS One on October 28, 2015, states that 3709 million people aged 0 – 49 were infected with HSV – 1 in 2012.

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The study establishes the fact that Africa, South – East Asia and Western Pacific show the highest prevalence rate of Herpes. According to approximations made by the World Health Organization, out of the 320 million people that are infected in the Americas, 178 million are women while 132 million are men. In addition to this, an estimated 417 million people are affected with HSV – 2, referred to as Genital Herpes.

Medical researchers have had already established that HSV – 1 is manifested with mouth ulcers or cold sores. However, recent studies have shown that it contributes to genital herpes as well. This genital herpes or HSV – 2 is characterized by painful blisters in the genitals, accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Several independent studies have shown that people living with herpes simplex virus – 2 are at a greater risk of contracting HIV.

NBC News reports that while Africa has the highest rates of infection, the Americas have the least. 49 percent of women and 39 percent of men in this part of the world are people with herpes. The number jumps to 60 percent in South East Asia, and a staggering 87 percent in Africa.

According to Sami Gottlieb, a Medical Officer at the World Health Organization, there is a need to accelerate the development of a vaccine designed to prevent HSV – 2 as well as HSV – 1 infection. Although pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline have tried making a vaccine, which could show some effective resistance against herpes, they haven’t been able to succeed in achieving satisfactory results.

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