Herpetic Whitlow

Skin lesion on the fingers or thumb caused by the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 or -2.

Method of infection:

  • often contracted by health care workers who come in contact with the virus
  • most commonly contracted by dental workers and medical workers exposed to contaminated oral or genital secretions.
  • also often observed in thumb-sucking children with primary HSV-1 oral infection.


  1. swelling
  2. reddening
  3. tenderness of the skin of infected finger.
  4. This may be accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes.

Small, clear vesicles initially form individually, then merge and become cloudy. 

Treatment and Management:

Lesions usually heals in two to three weeks, however, antiviral ointment may be applied topically to speed healing time.


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