Screening for Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Type 1)
The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
There are no screening guidelines for cold sores.
A simple antibody blood test can show if you have been exposed to the herpes virus in the past. If you test positive, it means you could get a cold sore in the future. However, since almost everyone tests positive for herpes simplex type 1, this test is not very useful for screening purposes.
Beers MH, Fletcher AJ, et al. Merck Manual of Medical Information . 2nd ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2003.
Cold sore. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cold-sore/DS00358 . Updated July 2008. Accessed September 24, 2008.
Herpes simplex. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/default.htm . Accessed September 24, 2008.
Miller C. Oral herpes/cold sores essential facts. Australian Herpes Management Forum website. Available at: http://www.ahmf.com.au/oral_herpes/essential_facts.htm . Updated June 2007. Accessed September 24, 2008.
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